Boy how time flies. I can't believe it's been so long since my last blog post. But in my defense, there has been Thanksgiving, my birthday, Christmas, New Years, Martin Luther King holiday and there had to have been at least one other famous card maker holiday in there somewhere...
So what can I talk about after all these months? Well, I had to think about that one as well. My first thought was to talk about all the great wine I've been exposed to. Been there done that. Maybe talk about wine bottle closures, you know, cork versus screwcap etc. Nah, way too overdone. The changes in wine and wine drinkers taste? Okay, we're getting close.
Got it! The Next Big Wine...
Don't think I've ever tried to predict what the next big wine trend would be, but after the last few months of delicious wines, I've stumbled across what I think may just be what wine consumers and connisseuers might want. Cab Franc!
"Cab what" might some of you say. Cabernet Franc. While not as well known at Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot, Cab Franc has been a workhorse wine for centuries in the French region of Bordeaux. One of 5 grapes approved in the production of Bordeaux wines. It is known for it's body, slightly less then that of Cabernet Sauvignon, and it's ability to bring certain spice notes to a wine. While generally not produced without blending, most notably in the Loire Valley in France, it can help create wines with more nuances and slightly longer finish.
Why now, why Cab Franc? As I've mentioned in previous blogs, the domestic wine regions have been blessed with tremendous vintages, most recent being the Classic 2012, then on it's heal, the 2013 vintage, another truly Outstanding vintage. While 2010 and 2011 saw a push towards blended wines, I believe to help streghten vintages not as good, the mixing of grape varieties allowed winemakers to produce very good wines, as I have seen and heard first hand from numerous clients and their desire for these blends.
In the past, Cab Franc would be a supporting player in wines even in good years as the cry was always for Cabernet Sauvignon. Winemakers would likely add some Cab Franc, Petite Verdot, Merlot or Malbec to help round out the wine. But more and more, I have been introduced to wines that FEATURE Cab Franc! Most still use Cabernet Sauvignon or other grapes to help round out the flavor profile, adding body and an array of other fruit components. All coming together to make a heck of a wine.
My wake up call to this actually occured at my birthday tasting in November 2015. I had bought a wine from Corliss Estates, their 2009 Red Blend. 94 Points from Robert Parker, so I had a feeling it was good. When I opened the bottle and poured a little for myself and my daughter (she was there helping me and she is over 21) we both took a sip, looked at each other and couldn't talk. Here's where I could add a bunch of adjectives to descibe the wine, but I'll just say "heavenly." Big rich wine with dark rich fruit balanced with that earthy nuance of oak and finishing with a spice note that just lingered. Looking at the wines composition, a propietary blend, the first grape listed was Cab Franc. I had made a new friend.
No surprise that when that wine sold out, rather quickly I might add, I was pleased when my wine rep told me the 2010's were on their way. This time 94+ by Robert Parker, so I knew the wine had to be as good, maybe even better. You guessed it, it's on the shelf with a number of bottles already spoken for.
Now wait, you say. You said how good the 2012 and 2013 vintages are so why am I talking about 2009 and 2010. Well that was to set the stage. Now starts the beginning availablility of those 2012 and 2013 wines. I am surprised to see more wines with Cab Franc as their main wine grape. Not a lot, but more. I am intruiged enough to start looking at and for more wines with Cab Franc.
Thanks to a very good and relatively new client, I was introduced to wines from Favia Wines. A joint effort with Annie Favia and Andy Erickson. No stranger to winemaking, Andy has been the winemaker most recently for Screaming Eagle and the likes of Dalla Valle and Ovid. If you know me, you know I'm now on a mission. To see just how good these wines are and do I have to have them. A quick search reveals that while they make 8 wines, 3 reds are from the Napa area. Their Cabernet from 2012 garnered 98 Points from Robert Parker. Very Good. BUT! Their La Magdellena received a perfect 100! Guess what wine is the main grape, yep, Cab Franc. Unfortunately, due to the rating, that wine was not available, but they also make a wine called Cerro Sur. Also a remarkable 97 Points! Also, a Cab Franc dominated wine. That one I was able to obtain. Not much, but at it's price, it's not going to necessarily fly off the shelf, but it should, it's remarkable.
Now 2 wines don't make a trend by any standard, but with wine drinkers and their desire to branch out and find new wines and new grape varietals, I think this could be it. I guess we'll find out in a year or less...hopefully it won't take that long for my next blog. As I sit here writing this I realize how much I miss this. So stay tuned, subscribe to my blog and I'll try not to disapoint and and not repeat the "Gone but not Forgotten."