There is a story behind just about every glass of wine. Some are more interesting than others, to be sure, and Concannon Vineyard is more interesting than most in terms of history and contributions made to the wine industry. Today we are sipping Clone 7 Cabernet Sauvignon from Concannon Vineyard that we received as a tasting sample. It is the perfect wine to accompany a brief tale of family winemaking and the development of Cabernet Sauvignon clones.
The Concannon family history of winemaking in California dates back to 1893 when James Concannon purchased 47 acres in the Livermore Valley. Using Cabernet Sauvignon cuttings obtained from France he planted vineyards and set about making Bordeaux-style wines. James Concannon was among the first growers to establish a winery in the Livermore Valley and Concannon Vineyard is “America’s Oldest, Ongoing Winery Under the Same Family Label and Stewardship Since 1883.”
The subsequent generation cared for the vines through Prohibition, when the production of sacramental wine allowed the vines to be saved. Then, third-generation vintner, Jim Concannon, began a collaboration with UC Davis in 1965 that resulted in the development of three Cabernet Sauvignon Clones.
Between 1970 and 1974 UC Davis registered and release what are known as Concannon Clones 7, 8 and 11 all of which originated from the Concannon Mother Vine that originally came from France. The winery estimates that as much as 80% of California Cabernet Sauvignon is made from the Concannon Clones.
Today, fourth-generation vintner John Concannon continues the work started by his family in 1893. Concannon Vineyard notes that their Clone 7 Cabernet is characterized by “resistance to many grape diseases, it displays good fruit strength, some herbal character and good yields.”
2014 Concannon Vineyard Clone 7 Cabernet Sauvignon, Chalk Hill — medium ruby in the glass with a bright rim. Aromas are complex and generous with ripe blackberries, dusty earth, dried herbs and crushed flower stems. Red fruit flavors of dried cranberries, raspberries and pomegranates lead the way along with flavors of blackberries, cedar and leafy tobacco. Tannins are substantial, but well integrated with the flavors in this medium-bodied red wine that also has a bright core of acidity running through it. 14.5% abv. SRP $90
This is a lively and focused Cabernet Sauvignon with complex aromas and flavors. It has plenty of structure and brilliant acidity. Certainly, it is one of the most enjoyable Cabernets I’ve tasted recently. It is comprised entirely of Concannon Clone 7 Cabernet Sauvignon grown in the Chalk Hill AVA within the larger Russian River AVA. It spent 22 months in French and American oak.
History and wine…delicious when served together.