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Advice from a winemaking wizard

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Janet Myers, director of winemaking at Franciscan Winery and Mt. Veeder, uses a simple philosophy when discussing wine tasting.

“Taste, but don’t let your head get in the way,” she said. “Your palate is doing all the work.” For example, you may have preconceived notions about a vineyard before tasting a wine. That is dangerous; you have to taste blind.”

The occasion was the introduction of Franciscan’s newest release, “Equilibrium.” – a $23 white blend of mostly sauvignon blanc and muscat with a little bit of chardonnay for body and roundness. There is lime and lemon grass on the finish and no “oak popping out.” It has a screw cap closure that looks like cork threads. Equilibrium pairs delightfully with many foods – Thai spices, prosciutto and even grilled fish or chicken with a little smokiness. Myers said this white wine is counterpoint to the Bordeaux varietals her team has been crafting since 1973.

"We want every wine to have a personality and a reason for being,” she said. “A screw cap is good for fruity and non-oaked whites meant to be consumed within a few years. However, for ‘big reds’, there is no closure like a cork for aging.”

Beginning in January 2014, Franciscan Estate will be uncorking a new Reserve Three Course Lunch Program. This Friday program ($125 per person) is geared to the consumer who wants to learn more about wine and to have a private experience with wine educator. The winery’s outstanding Napa Valley wines will be paired with fresh, seasonable selections.

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