Review: 2001 Bedford Thompson Cabernet Franc Santa Barbara County

Older is sexier.

Rating: One of the must try wines of last year.  Graciousness, finesse, and a rock bottom price make it easy to try aged estate wine. $18-24

The rest of the story:  The economics of winemaking, like any other manufacturing, put pressure on the producer to keep output in line with demand and inventory as low as possible. So when a wine gets attention from the press and the wine-consuming public catches on, it's no surprise that the winery might start releasing their wines faster.  Take the example of Greg Norman's first release.  His debut Cab-Merlot got 91 points from Wine Spectator and in the year following, three vintages of the same wine appeared on retailer's shelves.

At the small Bedford winery (formerly Bedford Thompson), they are not hurried by fame, fortune, or economics. Consider that the current release of Cab Franc is over eight years old.

What are they waiting for? Good question.  And one we couldn't seem to get an answer to, despite emailing the winery a few times.  Granted, they've been going through some big changes lately, including re-bonding.  But the gentle giant Stephan Bedford makes small quantities of incredible (and reasonable) wine there.

And "No wine before its time" can't really a valid reason since many of this producer's reds are seriously (decades) ageworthy.

The 2001 Cab Franc is dense in color, refined and balanced in taste and not at all jumpy the way many blending varietals can be.  Layered, silky body.  This wine has evolved beyond adolescence and into grace. Its finesse makes for a pleasing texture and lovely experience.  Hard to believe the price.

This wine came direct from the winery, which runs ridiculous sales on occasion.  We have not seen it for sale anywhere outside the winery, either.

As a complete sidebar - Also on the main street in the sleepy western town of Los Alamos is the Twin Oaks restaurant. While it looks like a fading VFW hall, they have what has to be the best grilled artichoke and steak anywhere in the country.  Everything is grilled over oak and they do lunch, too. Highly recommended.