Monday, October 1

Infused Wine Review: Franciscan Estates 2007 Magnificat

When is a wine more than a wine? When you know the history. Or…at least when the winery has a history. I always seem to enjoy a wine when there is more to the effort than a faceless, nameless entity behind it.

Recently Franciscan Estates, Napa Valley, California, sent me their 2007 Magnificat red wine to review and I found the prospect even more enticing after reading the back story of the vineyard and winery. Established in 1973 with producing beginning in 1975, Franciscan’s owner Justin Meyer created the estate’s style of small lot wines.

Magnificat was introduced in 1985 under vintner Agustin Huneeus. It is a Bordeaux-style blend spearheading the Meritage class of wines. All good signs for a red wine lover.

The label reads, “This Meritage shows layered aromas of cassis and plum, with ripe black fruit flavors and hints of vanilla and spice.” Definitely there is the aroma of plum and slight hints of vanilla. More interesting, to me at least, is the spice scent wafting out of the bottle softly in a teasing manner.

Once opened to breathe for a bit and poured, the character of the wine shifted to a deeper layering. First tasting is of the fruit, as expected in a California wine, than a strong finish of tobacco. Not a cigarette tobacco, mind you.

No… it’s more of a high-quality cigar tobacco that conjures up memories (or daydreams) of sitting curled up in a leather wing-back chair in your grandfather’s study. The day outside is damp and grey but you don’t mind because you are in front of a fireplace with nothing else to do all day except enjoy the afternoon and the bottle of Franciscan Estates Magnificat. It’s a good, warm cozy feeling which wraps around you like a well loved quilt.

What type of food would you enjoy with this wine? Something you can linger over without hurry, such as lamb or beef stew. If nibblers are more the meal in mind, tapas of peppery beef bites would pair up nicely.

Music to enhance the experience should be meaningful background tunes. I suggest Bach for classical enthusiasts. For others… a bluesy-jazzy choice such as Billie Holiday or Lena Horne.
Bottom Line: Franciscan Estates Magnificat will conjure up a desire to forget the outside world and stay inside curled  up in a chair beside the fireplace reading great literature.

Winery images and sample by Franciscan Estates
Wine image by E. J. Musgrave

Elizabeth J. Musgrave
 is a syndicated fine-living, travel columnist, freelance writer, and performing arts and restaurant critic for Gotta Go. Read her new column, Infused, at and and catch her as Indy’s Entertainment Adviser on 93 WIBC. Gotta Go is published on,, in magazines and several Indianapolis area newspapers. Follow her on Twitter @GottaGo, LinkedIn and Facebook.

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