This month’s wine picks are inspired by one of my favorite grapes, Cabernet Franc! More than likely you have encountered cabernet franc before as it is one of the five Bordeaux grapes. And yes it is a very important grape in blending but it also stands alone beautifully. We’ve chosen some non-traditional expressions of this grape for you- a rose, a pet nat, & a native yeast red- all 100% Cabernet Franc.
Cabernet Franc is the parent grape of many important varieties, including Cabernet Sauvignon & Merlot. See chart. Its origins lie in the basque region of France and some of the best Cabernet Franc comes out of Loire Valley- (mostly commonly the Chinon appellation) Which is where our Rose this month is from!
Single-varietal Cabernet Franc has proven to be very robust and produce good quality wines in a variety of climates. This is a clue to its diversity of tastes. These wines reveal more tart fruit flavors and heightened acidity from cooler climates such as in the Loire Valley of France and Ontario, Canada. In warmer areas such as Tuscany and California, (our sparkling Pet Nat this month)- you’ll find Cabernet Franc delivers more sweet strawberry and dried fruit flavors. One fascinating flavor in Cabernet Franc wines- that you might find in the red this month- is a disarming aroma often described as bell pepper. In warmer climates, the aroma is a bit sweeter like roasted red pepper or cayenne spiced chocolate, but the pepper characteristic is notable.
Enjoy and Cheers, Andrea
In 2004, France’s most respected critic, Michel Bettane, got together with Spain’s legendary journalist, Jose Penin, to blind-taste the two countries’ thirty-one best wines. Tastings like this often contain a shocker; this time it was an obscure wine from Ribera del Duero made by a little-known French winemaker. The upstart was 2002 Dominio de Atauta “Llanos del Almendro,”made by the then 25-year-old Bertrand Sourdais,a native of Chinon in the Loire Valley. In the early 2000's, with his father's retirement nearing,Bertrand took up the challenge of creating something great at Pallus. At Atauta, he had learned to question orthodoxy, and at Pallus he believed he could chart a new course. His goal,ultimately, was to honor Chinon's soil and its ancient traditions. But he knew that to do so, he would need to correct both the flaws that persisted in the region's traditional methods, while avoiding the mistakes typically made by modernists. Bertrand has brought to the project an insider's sense of tradition combined with an outsider's eye for change. He aspires to test the limits of possibility for the vineyards that 5 generations of his family have worked. The estate holds almost 30 small parcels located in Chinon's heart at Cravant-les-Coteaux. Soils range from heavy, limestone-rich clay, to sand. Bertrand selects from the estate's best parcels to workin "his way," and those form the basis for his Les Pensées. He likes a blend of limestone clay (for aromatics), heavier clay (forpower), and sand (for finesse). Bertrand employs a thoughtful adaptation of biodynamics - listening to the vines instead of listeningto rote dogma. Bertrand utilizes an extremely long, gentle maceration (over 30 days) to capture the "soul" of his Cabernet Franc.Elevage is similarly unhurried, with a gentle 18 months in second passage barrels purchased from elite Bordeaux estates.
Andrew Jones is one of the most important players in the Central Coast wine industry.
-San Francisco Chronicle
Local Knowledge. Traditional Techniques. Field Recordings is 35-year old winemaker Andrew Jones’ personal catalog of the people and places he values most. Spending his days as a vine nursery fieldman planning and planting vineyards forfarmers all over California, Andrew is sometimes offered small lots of their best fruit on the side. Having stood injust about every vineyard on the Central Coast, he has a keen eye fordiamonds in the rough: sites that are unknown or under-appreciated but hold enormous untapped potential. As friendships are made and opportunities are embraced, Andrew produces small quantities of soulful wine from these unusual, quiet vineyards. The Field Recordings wines are a catalog of single vineyard sites that produces wines with a sense of place and personality. In addition to the single vineyard wines, multi-vineyard blends are put together under the Wonderwall, Alloy Wine Works, and FICTION labels. Wonderwall focuses on Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from extreme, coastal locations. Breaking through and breaking rules. Alloy Wine Works isa collection of varietal wines packaged in cans. FICTION, the original spin-off label, is a white and red wine produced from multiple vineyards and multiple varieties. Taking what the season gives us and creating a blend made for every occasion. Ready for tonight,tomorrow or this weekend.
Passionate Wines is the brainchild of Matias Michelini. He is the winemaker, agronomist,and Grand Poobah of his winery named Passionate Wines. Matias strives to make experimental wines that express terroir. These wines are low production and are drawn from multiple inspirations, regions, and styles. The Via Revolucionaria wines are single vineyard, unconventional wines, fermented with native yeast. Matias continues to experiment with other cuvees with the mantra of producing either atypical varietals or classic varietals in non-traditional methods.
100% Cabernet Franc. Three months in stainless steel.Messanges is an old Loire Valley name for Cabernet Franc.Bertrand is using this line for a Red and Rosé from his younger vines. Vinified for immediate accessibility, they are the perfect introduction to the Pallus style.
Paso Robles Varietals: Cabernet Franc Fermentation: Crushed and left on skins for 6 hours and pressed to stainless.
Fermented cold and bottled before fermentation is complete to get just the right amount of sparkle.
Tasting Notes: Oxnard plains strawberries, fresh rosemary sourdough loaves and a hint of jade citrus mint tea.
100% Cabernet Franc grown on sandy and calcareous soil. Native yeast.8 months in concrete vat. 20 day maceration/fermentation. Organic!
This lively, spicy midweight shows very good mineral verve and liftand finishes saline and persistent. -Vinous
I highly suggest you grab some friends and try to enjoy all 3 bottles at once to get the full effect of tasting the different types of cabernet franc! Here is a dinner party menu that will pair well with all 3 wines. Fresh HERBS are the key!! And for dessert keep it simple with some really good vanilla ice cream topped with fresh strawberries or raspberries & mint!
Smoked Salmon platter Store bought cold smoked salmon, fresh dill, cream cheese, capers, red onion, and cornichon pickles. Serve with water crackers.
Crudite with whipped feta Sliced fresh veggies of choice- like radishes, multi colored carrots, snap peas, bell peppers & cherry tomatoes
Season steak with salt & pepper- grill to a medium rare 135 degrees, let rest- slice thinly and top with chimi sauce
Place all ingredients in food processor and pulse lightly until all ingredients are incorporated
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