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Leah Jørgensen Cellars, Cabernet FrancSouthern Oregon 2019 (750mL)

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Leah Jørgensen Cellars, Cabernet Franc Southern Oregon 2019 (750mL)

Fruit
Earth
Body
Tannin
Acid
Alcohol

If you like to be on the cutting edge of what’s new and exciting in wine, Leah Jørgenson is a name you need to know. But, then again, I’d say the same to those who don’t care one whit about trends and just want to drink delicious, conscientiously farmed wines at reasonable prices.


Jørgenson was originally lured to Oregon place by the mesmerizing Pinot Noirs of the Willamette Valley, but her focus shifted southward, to the Umpqua and Rogue Valleys and the Cabernet Franc grape. Southern Oregon is a little warmer, and its soils are a little different, and in her embrace of Cabernet Franc Leah didn’t leave her Willamette Valley experience (Erath, Adelsheim, Shea) completely behind. Today’s plush and beautifully balanced 2019 is crafted in the same spirit as the best Oregon Pinot Noirs: It has an Old World sensibility, but it isn’t trying to be a carbon copy of its Old World inspirations (in this case, Chinon or Saumur-Champigny from the Loire). This is Southern Oregon’s interpretation, with its own compelling message, and everyone at SommSelect is convinced: This is a new benchmark from a new frontier.




After learning more about Leah’s life in wine, I was reminded of our friend Erin Nuccio, whose Evesham Wood/Haden Fig wines have become SommSelect staples. Like Nuccio, Jørgenson is a transplant from Washington, DC; she worked in wine distribution there and apprenticed at wineries in Virginia, but a trip to “Oregon Pinot Camp”—an annual, invitation-only pilgrimage of sommeliers, retailers, and other wine pros to the Willamette Valley—inspired her to head west and jump headlong into Oregon viticulture. 


Fewer than 300 cases of today’s 2019 were produced, using 100% Cabernet Franc sourced from two vineyards: Crater View Ranch and the Sundown Vineyard. Both these sites, which share similarly silty, clay/loam soils and elevations of about 1,600 feet, are in the Rogue Valley, but the wine nevertheless carries the broader “Southern Oregon” AVA designation on the label. Jørgenson described the harvest in ’18 as “outstanding,” thanks to some refreshing, well-timed rain near the end of September. She de-stemmed all the fruit but subjected it to a light crushing, so that some whole berries remained intact, and aged the finished wine in a combination of mostly neutral French oak and stainless steel tanks.


For a young, fresh red, this is also a beautifully integrated and complex red—marked not just by concentrated dark fruit but a smooth, silken texture. There’s only the slightest (very pleasant) hint of the “green” pyrazine notes that characterize Cabernet Franc; it’s much more about fruit and warm spice, including Morello cherry, blackberry, pomegranate, cranberry, violets, black pepper, anise, and ground coffee. It is medium-bodied, with soft tannins and a tangy, mouth-watering freshness that will sustain it for the next several years. Decant it 15 minutes before serving at 60-65 degrees in Burgundy stems and take a pairing suggestion from Leah Jørgenson herself: dry-rubbed BBQ ribs. If you weren’t already a Southern Oregon devotee, you will be now!




Leah Jørgensen Cellars, Cabernet Franc Southern Oregon 2019 - SommSelect

  • CountryUnited States
  • RegionOregon
  • Sub-RegionSouthern Oregon / Rogue Valley
  • SoilSilty Clay/Loam
  • FarmingCertified Sustainable (L.I.V.E.)
  • BlendCabernet Franc
  • Alcohol14%
  • OakMostly Neutral French Barrels

  • CountryUnited States
  • RegionOregon
  • Sub-RegionSouthern Oregon / Rogue Valley
  • SoilSilty Clay/Loam
  • FarmingCertified Sustainable (L.I.V.E.)
  • BlendCabernet Franc
  • Alcohol14%
  • OakMostly Neutral French Barrels
  • Temp.Serve at 60-65° F
  • GlasswareBurgundy Stem
  • DrinkingNow-2025
  • Decanting15 Minutes
  • PairingBaby Back Ribs w/ Dry Rub