This is based on a sample provided by the winery or a company representing them.







My comments

I’ve been a fan of the Cabernet Sauvignons and Cabernet based blends from Franciscan Estates for many years.  There were a few years the wines were good, but I felt they could have been a bit better.  The last few years, the overall quality has been improving, in my opinion.  This improvement seems to parallel the movement of Janet Myers to Director of Winemaking in August 2005.


This will actually be my first Chardonnay from the winery.  My favorite Chardonnay wines have little to no oak and I run away from the full blown, buttery ones that were in vogue not that long ago.



Winery History

Founded in 1972, and purchased in 1975 by industry revolutionaries Justin Meyer and Raymond Duncan, Franciscan Estate’s rich history was born out of a strong devotion to small-lot winemaking and a pioneering spirit. These ideals have been a hallmark for who we are and guide us as we continue to craft world-class NapaValley wines.


Much more information is available at:





Wine info

Total production – 74,000 cases

Suggested retail price – $18.00


This is 100% Chardonnay that was barrel fermented  It then spent seven months sur lie in small French and American oak barrels, 20% of which were new.


Much of the fruit comes from the estate owned Larsen Vineyard in Carneros.


Alcohol – 13.5%



My Tasting Note

The wine is a light, pale straw to yellow color.  The fresh and vibrant nose shows apples, baking spices, vanilla, minerals, lemon zest, melon, and a spritz of lime.  This has medium body with tart, citrusy acidity with just a touch of creaminess.  On the palate the wine features nice, mineral laden, apples, juicy lemon/lime citrus, with vanilla, melon, and baking spices adding additional depth.  The crisp and clean finish has good length showcasing the spicy apples, minerals, and citrus notes that slowly fade leaving a nice vanilla note.  (90 pts)


This is a very balanced wine with just enough oak to add “seasoning” and interest, but it never attempts to take center stage from the fruit.  This has enough fruit and spice to drink well on its own, but the crisp acidity makes it perfect to go with a rich meal.  This would be perfect with a juicy roasted chicken or my choice, a skewer of large, grilled shrimp on the deck or patio on a warm day.


I would recommend drinking this over the next 4 to 5 years to enjoy the vibrant fruit, spice, and juicy citrus.  That said, with the balance and good acidity, it could last longer with the proper cellar conditions.


2011 Franciscan Estate Chardonnay



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Notes – I use the “official” Cellar Tracker name for the wines.  I use Cellar Tracker to help manage and organize my cellar.  I highly recommend checking it out at  Loading you existing cellar is a lot less intimidating than it would first appear.  There is a good chance 99% of your wine is already in the system, so you generally only need to enter part of the wine’s name and the system will find it for you.



Prices noted are the prices I paid at the time of purchase.  I don’t shop around to find the best prices, but my local store is usually VERY competitive.  I generally get case discounts, and since I work there part time, I get a 5% discount.  Wines purchased direct from a winery do not include any shipping charges.  None of the prices include the sales tax.



All wines that were sent to me free of charge to sample will be noted and I will show suggested prices when available.