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Friday, October 9, 2015

Cab Franc - The Next Big Grape


Fun with Franc

If you have yet to reach for Cabernet Franc, now's the time to try the lighter, crisper, and more aromatic cousin to Cabernet Sauvignon.
For a while we just couldn't find any that were good without being super pricey. But suddenly Napa had enough to use for its Bordeaux Blends and still have enough to make some 100% Cab Francs. These are in the style of Bordeaux's bigger, more opulent approach but not too heavy.
Here are a few worth your attention:
Peter Franus 2011 Cab Franc
Napa Valley

We were blown away when we tasted Peter's 2011 Cabernet Franc. It exhibits everything we love and enjoy about 100% Cabernet Franc. One of the best qualities about such a wine is its versatility at your dinner table. This Cabernet Franc is the ultimate food pairing wine. Medium bodied, this wine has an amazing herbaceous characteristic that pairs beautifully with Mediterranean foods, most meats and a slew of grilled or roasted vegetables.

A seductive ruby color draws you into a beautiful mélange of perfumed aromas rose petal, lavender, cherry, cardamom, and white pepper. The mouth offers a firm entry with a lively textural impression as well as a wonderful enduring finish. It's the definition of elegance.

Only 100 cases produced - Regular $46 -
Mix Any Six Price $41 
Sika 2013 Cab Franc
Napa Valley

The Sika Cabernet Franc hails from one of the biggest name wineries in the Napa Valley (Sorry, we can't disclose who, so don't even ask). The wine was originally earmarked to be a high-end, vineyard designated bottling at $70 a bottle.

On the nose there are hints of mint, black currants and even a touch of eucalyptus. Dare we say it...imagine a delicious Girl Scout Thin Mint Cookie! The palate confirms the flavors and introduces so many more. Silky layers of complex flavors so well-integrated, one is hard pressed to name them. It certainly takes its place as one of the best Cabernet Francs in Napa Valley and certainly one of the best values. The wine is drinking wonderfully now, but will benefit from being cellared until 2018.

Only 250 cases produced - Regular $49 - Mix Any Six Price $44
Titus 2012 Cab Franc
Napa Valley

The Titus Cabernet Franc, a blend of 75% Cab Franc, 14% Cab Sauv and 11% Malbec, is complex with well-defined fruit flavors, gentle acids and naturally balanced tannins. If one were able to liquefy a perfectly faceted rhodolite garnet, it would be the exact color of this gorgeous wine.
The taste of Candied red fruits with a slightly exotic flare - think cherries and red currents with a fleeting kiss of ripe dragon fruit and pomegranate - and hints of mocha and clovey oak tingle the back of your mouth. A touch of green bell pepper, sweet oak and balanced acidity bring it all together, enhancing the long finish and generous-but-not-overpowering mouth feel.The smoothness of this wine will bring you back for more.

Only 360 cases produced - Regular $44 - Mix Any Six Price $40

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Fun Franc Facts:

  • The grapes are purple and look quite similar to Cabernet Sauvignon.
  • It is the primary ingredient in what many regard as Bordeaux's finest wine, Cheval Blanc.
  • Along with the usual cherry-and-berry aromas, Cabernet Franc normally sends up a seductive whiff of herbs, spices,violets and even a sweet tobacco scent.
  • Canada's premier winery, Inniskillin, uses it to produce one of its vaunted ice wines.

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