Wine Talk

Snooth User: dmcker

Experiencing cabernet franc

Posted by dmcker, Oct 25, 2015.

I've moved my post from another thread discussing problems with a Virginian cabernet franc. Thought it would be better to have a dedicated discussion here, rather than burying the discussion in that ongoing thread that covers quite different subjects.

Here it is...

 

 

To get a better feel for the grape and what it can and should do, you guys should also try some CF from the Loire (Chinon and others), as well as a couple with plenty in the blend of a right-bank Bordeaux for reference's sake (e.g. Cheval Blanc which is 2/3 CF and 1/3 merlot, Ausone which is roughly 50-50, and something like Figeac which is 1/3 each CS and CF and merlot, though there are many other options). Generally, CF ripens earlier and is easier to grow than cabernet sauvignon. It makes sense that CF might be a better call than CS for concerted winemaking effort at this stage in Virginia. For what it's worth, CF and sauvignon blanc are CS' parents, genetically.

In France it tends to be more feminine than the CS which is harder to control and guarantee under their historical growing conditions. More CF (bouchet) was grown in Bordeaux than any other red in the past, especially on the right bank, but merlot staged a raid on leadership in the latter 20th century thanks to overseas market demand led by the Americans.

The off bottle is certainly possible. Learning when to return bottles at restaurants or from wineries is a rite of passage. Another possibility is different physical condition, level of excitement and 'event inflation' at the winery, where lesser wines can seem better than they truly are because of the context.

 

 

While I'm not entirely a fan of the following site's descriptions and analyses, the below example is certainly illustrative, and may help further a grasp of CF's characteristics:

 

Finally, this is an example of where Zuf's comments about the need to spin out to new threads is valid. These discussions would best go in a thread about CF, not to be buried here. I'll start one. Perhaps others can transfer their CF experiences from this thread to it, too.

 

 

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Replies

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Reply by JonDerry, Oct 25, 2015.

Definitely like what Cabernet Franc adds to Right Bank Bordeaux, and it no doubt helps shape many Bordeaux Blends in the US but unfortunately it's not often highlighted there. One of my great blind spots in old world, or French wine is definitely Chinon. I've tried a couple young Baudry's and did not care for them much. I do have some more bottles, including some Charles Joguet and Olga Raffault, but they are wines that benefit from aging.

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Reply by dmcker, Oct 26, 2015.

Also brought over from that thread:

 

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  Reply by dmcker, 2 minutes ago. Edit

"This 1998 one was just past it's prime in my opinion."

Not entirely clear to me as to why you can make that judgment. Certainly CF in France can mature over a cycle more than three times that long. Track record in the States is too short for clarity of view regarding the grape's true potential in CA or elsewhere, though this is mostly dependent on viticultural and vinicultural skill and style. If it's already flat, fading, bricking, sour, losing integration with poor acid and diffuse tannins  at less than 17 years of age then the problem was poor farming, poor winemaking or more likely both.

 

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Reply by Really Big Al, Oct 26, 2015.

In my limited tasting of Cabernet Franc wines from Virginia, I have not found one yet that I really lust after.  When I taste a wine blend that includes Cabernet Franc in the blend I am much happier.  Could it be that I just don't prefer this grape varietal?

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Reply by dmcker, Oct 26, 2015.

Could it be that they're not making good juice in Virginia?

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Reply by JonDerry, Oct 26, 2015.

Precisely!

It could be RBA, but best to try from other regions noted above.

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Reply by outthere, Oct 26, 2015.
 DMCKER, 25 MINUTES AGO.
Could it be that they're not making good juice in Virginia?
 
 
Ding, ding, ding, ding ding... We have a winner. My recollection of a Virginia tasting that I attended with EMark was that the climate there does not support a whole lot of good wine grape production. Acidity seems to be something that they cannot fathom or that their varieties fail to produce. OTOH perhaps ripeness is more important to them. In my limited tasting of Virginia wines I found the Cab Francs extremely aromatic but very one dimensional. It's no wonder that their most popular wines are blends.
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Reply by MJET, Oct 26, 2015.

RBA-have you tried a St. Francis Cab Franc from their wine club? 

 

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Reply by dvogler, Oct 26, 2015.

Good post DM.  

BC makes some really nice Cab Franc.  This link is a site that gives tasting notes on mostly BC wine, but others too.  It has two Cab Franc reviews on the first page right now.  It'll give a better picture of BC CF than I can do.  

http://iconscores.blogspot.ca/

 

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Reply by Really Big Al, Oct 26, 2015.

I have tried the St. Francis Cabernet Franc from the shipments we have received.  It does taste better than the other Virginia Cabernet Franc bottles I have tried - but it's not an order of magnitude better to me.  However, the Virginia blends that include Cabernet Franc have been much better suited to my taste.  There are so many Virginia wineries out here that I'm sure there are a few that can produce a decent Cabernet Franc bottle - I just haven't found that winery yet, or I don't remember one of the wines I've really enjoyed at a Virginia winery being just Cabernet Franc.  

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Reply by MJET, Oct 26, 2015.

I also prefer it in a blend. Plenty of excellent blends from Paso Robles that use CF. 

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Reply by Really Big Al, Oct 26, 2015.

I've been decanting that 1998 Cabernet Franc bottle this morning - two hours now.  You know what?  It tastes a whole lot better.  I detect cherry on my tongue.  It still has a musky smell on the nose though.  I will keep trying it throughout the day and not pour it down the drain like I almost did last night.  This is an $80 experiment.

 

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Reply by EMark, Oct 26, 2015.

I have very little experience with CF.  I have five or six bottles of CA CF in my inventory.  I've probably consumed less than five CA varietal bottlings of CF in my life.  I'm pretty sure the number of Chinon I have consumed is equal to one.  So, following is the only contribution I can make to this conversation.

A couple years ago we visited the Childress winery in North Carolina (around Vin0vin0's patch).  The best wine I tasted that day was their Cabernet Franc.  Of course it's possible that it was just the least bad wine I had.  I actually bought a bottle, and I know it was nowhere near the $80 tariff that RBA reported--even without the friend of a friend of the son-in-law of Richard Childress discount that they gave us.

I return you to your more serious, informative and, yes, interesting conversation.

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Reply by Really Big Al, Oct 26, 2015.

I had another small glass of the 1998 Cabernet Sauvignon but it was similar to the glass I had after waiting two hours for it to open up.  So the improvement peaked at least by two hours.  I hope to leave enough for my wife to try later tonight when we finish watching the grand kids.  

Oh, this is her last week of work.  I know every day is gonna be a good day..... :-)

 

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Reply by dmcker, Oct 26, 2015.

"1998 Cabernet Sauvignon"

Do you mean cabernet franc?

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Reply by Really Big Al, Oct 26, 2015.

Yes, sorry for the mistake.  That's my second mistake this year!

 

Sandra did try a small glass when she arrived home, and it does taste better to her.  She can't deal with the musky bouquet though, so she poured out the rest of her small glass.

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Reply by dmcker, Oct 26, 2015.

Do you guys cook with wine?

And that 'musk' needs to be clarified. We talking about a bad bottle? Brett sometimes presents with a muskiness...

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Reply by JonDerry, Oct 26, 2015.

Interesting timing, there's a new thread on WB about Detert, which apparently produces some of Napa's best Cabernet Franc. Seems promising

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Reply by vin0vin0, Oct 27, 2015.

So I've gone back into my Cellar Tracker tasting notes and found just a couple cab francs. I've had a few inexpensive Chinons, a couple from VA and NC, two rose of CF and the rest from CA. The French CFs seemed to be quite light with red cherry and cranberry dominating the flavor. The Napa CFs had more of a black cherry and rhubarb profile. This is part of a note from 2012 re: one of the Chinons - Very nice cab franc without the mustiness I've experienced with US made cab francs. (At the time, US made meant VA and NC).

In the cellar I have a couple of the Ryme CFs (Russian River), several from Napa, one from VA (Prince Michel of Virginia) and one my daughter gave me for my B-day (Hosmer Cabernet Franc Cayuga Lake). Looks like I need to procure another Chinon, a Saumur, hunt down a CF dominant wine from Bordeaux and have a CF tasting.

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Reply by duncan 906, Oct 27, 2015.

There arte some lovely cabernet francs to be had for very little money in the Loire valley,an area I have visited on a number of occasions but I am afraid I have not tried any American versions

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Reply by Really Big Al, Oct 27, 2015.

JD - How would you describe 'dusty tannins'?  Some of these terms just throw me because I don't think I really detect them like most others do.  Here's one description.  

To answer an earlier question, we don't generally cook with wine.  

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