Thursday, November 10, 2005

Franc-ly Speaking About Cabernet Franc

A grape that is often blended and rarely sold as a single varietal, it would be a safe bet to say there is a large majority of wine drinkers who have yet sampled the Cab Franc alone. Cabernet Franc is grown mainly in the Bordeaux region. It is a variety which bears small bunches of thinner-skinned, earlier-ripening black berries. Cab Franc has a lower acidity, when compared to Cabernet Sauvignon. Yields are similar, although Cab Franc normally buds and ripens somewhat earlier. Growers appreciate it because it is not demanding vine.

Cabernet Franc wine, as well as Cabernet Sauvignon wine, is a bright and shiny red color. It brings strawberry and blackberry aromas, but compared to it's cousin, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc is the less herbaceous, less tannic, and more fruitier.

There are a few Cabernet Francs being bottled in the Walla Walla Valley. Cougar Crest, Tamarack, Buty and last, but far from least is Walla Walla Vintners. My bottles of Cabernet Franc from Walla Walla Vintners, I treat like a precious child, a gold holy grail and I often check in with them to see how their day is going.

Walla Walla Vintners Cabernet Franc is rich. Often jammy, full oak, with a mouth full of blackberries and chocolate. One of my favorite ways to enjoy this wine is with the Medallions of Beef Hiebert from Patit Creek in Dayton, WA. (I won't get started on this fork tender, melt in your mouth entree. I will save it for Patit Creek's very deserving blog.) We try to continue the enjoyment of this WWV Cabernet Franc with one of Heather's rich chocolate desserts.

Although, Preston Wines (also the third licensed winery in the state of Washington) isn't located in Walla Walla, they recently have taken space down town Walla Walla and now have their own tasting room. Two months ago I remembered I had a 1997 Preston Winery Cabernet Franc stashed away and we enjoyed it during dinner. It had aged beautiful. Silky with lots of dark fruit showing through. It was an industry trade and as soon as the bottle emptied, I had wished I had traded a couple more bottles.

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