If you’re looking for a friendly atmosphere, colorful stories, a rich history, a taste of Hollywood and some beautiful wines, Frank Family Vineyards should be on your list of stops in Napa Valley. First the wines … according to Wine Enthusiast (March 2009), “Frank Family is one of those wineries that Cab lovers should know more about.”
The 2007 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon is deep and opulent, the winner of Best of Class 2009 in the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition and a double gold, plus Best of Class, in the 2009 West Coast Wine Competition. The 2006 Napa Valley Zinfandel is a classic combination of fruits, peppers and spices. We loved it, along with the 2007 Zinfandel Reserve, which was excellent. The 2007 Sangiovese has a touch of Merlot and a touch of Cab to make it unique.
Our amiable host, Ron Keith, shared stories about the wines while pouring them, and then he took us to the back office to meet Dennis Zablosky, the delightful, colorful tasting room manager, whom we later discovered is very well known in Napa Valley (and in Washington state too by the De Lilles and the Dunhams). Indeed, the Frank Family website notes that Dennis is a Napa native, “who was touted a ‘wine legend’ by Robert Mondavi and considered one of Napa’s best-known personalities.”
We totally enjoyed our chat with Dennis,who also poured us the 2005 Winston Hill – a “velvet bomb” that is bold, rich, elegant and silky all in one glorious sip. That is one special wine!And what an experience — Dennis regaled us with stories of the Frank Family, starting with owner Rich Frank, who was president of Walt Disney Studios, the Paramount Television Group and one of the founders of the USA Network, along with being president of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences for six years.
In 1992, Rich bought a co-ownership of Kornell Champagne Cellars on the site of historic Larkmead Winery (established in 1892), and by 2007 became the sole owner. Other members of the Frank Family are Daryl Frank, who is co-owner of DreamWorks Television and Paul Frank, Head of Televison for The Firm, Hollywood’s successful talent management company, whose clients include Leonardo DiCaprio, Cameron Diaz, Martin Scorsese, Vin Diesel and Snoop Dogg.
In addition to the stories and the pours, our winery experience included the century-old building itself, with thick, stone walls and high-stacked barrels, surrounded by giant oak trees and spectacular vineyard views.
The only downside – you can’t buy the marvellous wines anywhere but from the winery and at a handful of select restaurants!