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LXV’s 2020 RESERVE CABERNET FRANC – Taking a Sip of the Loire Valley in the Central Coast

2020 LXV Reserve Cabernet Franc
100% Cabernet Franc
Portico Hills Vineyard

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The Result of Kunal’s Love for Cabernet Franc & Winemaker Jeff Strekas’s Favorite Vintage of Cabernet Franc


Taking a Trip to Chinon France

We have all heard of some of the bigger wine regions/subregions in France (Margaux, Graves and Medoc of Bordeaux, Châteauneuf-du-Pape of the Rhone Valley, etc.) but one of the possibly most undervalued regions is Chinon. Chinon is located in the Loire Valley of France and is the region’s largest (by volume) red wine appellation. The wines here are mainly made from Cabernet Franc – no wonder Kunal has sought out wines from here!

Chinon is the area where the Vienne and Loire Rivers merge. The majority of the area consists of two different soil types: Gravel soils near the river and hills and slopes made of limestone upstream . The area has the ideal amount of maritime influence to make up for the warmth and slightly harsher climate from the east side.

Kunal’s Inspirations are Clos Rougeard Saumur-Champigny Le Clos, which has become known as the Loire Valley’s ultimate cult producer, Domaine de Pallus, and Domaine Charles Joguet.

Back to the Central Coast: Portico Hills – LXV’s Favorite Cabernet Franc Site

Located an hour and a half south of our home in Paso Robles, CA, Portico Hills Vineyard is tucked right at the entrance of the small town of Los Alamos. The site here is perfect for our quest to get the best Cabernet Franc. The weather is ideal for Cab Franc, the climate being cooler than Paso Robles with a good amount of morning fog. 

At a mere 1.2 acres, the Cabernet Franc is one of the smallest blocks at Portico Hills Vineyard. In addition, this own-rooted Franc is planted on a steep, nearly 25% grade on one of the steepest faces of the vineyard’s sandy, limestone-veined hillside yielding incredibly well-drained soils that make the vine roots dig deep for water and nutrition. This site creates a franc with the structure of Chinon and the aromatics of Bourgueil!

Winemaking & Aging

Harvested on October 21st, 2020, the fruit used to make the 2020 LXV Reserve CF was fermented and macerated on skins for 19 days before being pressed to barrel in a small, 12 hL basket press. This fermentation occurred in a small 3-ton jacketed fermenter that was pumped over 2-3 times per day. Aged in 2 new and 3 used French oak barriques for 19 months prior to racking and bottling.

LXV Cabernet Franc Day at Cass Winery

Tasting Notes

The 2020 Portico Hills CF bears all the best hallmarks of a varietal Cabernet Franc! Savory notes of garrigue, sliced raspberries, and fresh-cut lilacs all show out of the first pour. On the palate, mouthwatering hints of kirsch and vanilla cream carry the wine lithely, contrasting its generous structure and bountiful mid-palate weight.The finish is lifted by the delicious character of freshly ground white pepper and sage. Truly, this is an expression of the best aromatics of French CF with the body and structure of a California Franc!



On December 4, 2022, numerous wineries including the LXV Team participated in Paso Robles first annual Cabernet Franc Day. The event highlighted many Cab Francs from local wineries, as well as international Cab Franc. LXV Team  Member Wes Hagen, led a deep dive into the world of Cabernet Franc.

LXV’s Armaa.N Vineyard Cabernet Franc!

We had our very first harvest at our Armaa.N Vineyard this year! Although the quantity from our Cabernet Franc Block wasn’t even half of what we will expect to get from it in the upcoming years, the quality was still amazing and we were able to use the small amount we have for our 2022 vintage.

Armaa.N Vineyard Cabernet Franc

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