A Tasting of Cabernet Franc for #CabFrancDay

Our celebration of Cab Franc Day (#CabFrancDay on Twitter) has spilled over into another blog post. Yesterday we posted an article about the history of Cabernet Franc and Cab Franc Day. This is where we share our tasting notes of the six wines we received as tasting samples in celebration of Cabernet Franc. To recap: last evening we were part of a group of wine bloggers who participated in an online discussion of Cabernet Franc. We tasted all six wines in the week prior to the online tasting and then chatted with fellow bloggers, Cabernet Franc lovers and winery representatives from many of the six wineries who sent us their wines for the celebration.

This group of wines represents an enjoyable spectrum of styles. We begin with the lighter styles and move to the heavier-style wines. All have a great deal to offer, so it is a matter of choosing a Cabernet Franc (or two or three) that suits your taste or occasion.

Glorie Farm Winery Cab Franc2014 Glorie Farm Winery Cabernet Franctranslucent ruby in the glass with tart red fruit and spicy aromas. Cranberry and blueberry flavors combine with a bit of spice, hints of sweet vanilla and subtle backnotes of celery leaf. This wine is lighter bodied with nice acidity and smooth tannins. 12% abv. $19.

Glorie Farm Winery’s version of Cabernet Franc is on the lighter side, but by no means lacking in flavor. This style of Cabernet Franc is the perfect red wine for a warm afternoon. Consider chilling it just slightly.

Glorie Farm Winery is located in the Marlboro Mountains overlooking the Hudson River in New York State. The small, family winery makes a range of red and white wines along with fruit wines and hard cider. Owners Doug and MaryEllen Glorie have been making Cabernet Franc for 15 years. With an eye toward increasing complexity in their Cab Franc they planted two new clones of Cabernet Franc this year. Doug believes strongly in Cabernet Franc and has been active in the push to name Cabernet Franc the Hudson River Region’s signature grape variety.

Leah Jorgensen Blanc de Cabernet Franc2015 Leah Jorgensen Cellars Blanc de Cabernet Francmedium yellow in the glass. Floral and white peach aromas are generous. Complex flavors of dried hay, stony minerality, dried pineapple and citrus are supported by juicy acidity and a bit of roundness. This wine is mouth filling and juicy at the same time and the flavors are very long lasting. 95 cases produced. 12.5% abv. $30.

Beguiling is how I described the aromas of this lovely white wine (yes, you read that correctly, white wine) made from Cabernet Franc. I was completely taken in by the aromas of this wine and its mouth filling quality combined with its flavors and juicy acidity sealed the deal for me. A lovely wine.

Leah Jorgensen was the first to commercially produce a still white wine made from Cabernet Franc. Leah takes her winemaking inspiration from the wines of the Loire Valley and her Blanc de Cabernet Franc is inspired by the Crémant de Loire sparkling wines made in a blanc de noir style. Mae’s Vineyard, the source of the Cab Franc in this bottling, is located in Southern Oregon’s Applegate Valley. Leah harvested the Cab Franc at 21.3 Brix and began winemaking as she would with a white wine — with a gentle whole cluster press of the grapes. No contact with the dark skins results in a white wine. After settling, the juice was transferred to equal parts neutral oak and stainless steel for fermentation. Aging was completed in the same vessels, on the lees with regular bâttonage, for complexity and body.

Leah Jorgensen Cabernet Franc2015 Leah Jorgensen Cellars Cabernet Francdense ruby red in the glass with red and dark fruit aromas seasoned with celery salt. Complex flavors of red and dark fruit combine with blueberry flavors, tobacco and dusty earth. Tannins are smooth and drying in this medium-bodied wine. The finish is relatively long. 243 cases produced. 14.5% abv. $25.

Delicious fruit flavors along with subtle savory notes make this wine really interesting. It is one to sip and savor.

Cabernet Franc was harvested from two vineyard sites in Southern Oregon at an average of 24 Brix. After sorting and de-stemming the fruit was lightly crushed and a four-day cold soak followed. Fermentation proceeded with manual punchdowns twice a day. Aging took place in mostly used French oak and stainless steel.

 

Ehlers Cabernet Franc2013 Ehlers Estate Cabernet Francdense ruby-garnet color in the glass with generous dark fruit aromas and a hint of dried herbs. The flavors of rich, ripe and dark fruit – plums and berries – join dusty earth and hints of vanilla spice. Tannins are substantial and linger on the finish along with the flavors. This wine has many familiar flavor components. 831 cases produced. 14.2% abv. $60.

This generous Cabernet Franc is produced from 100% CCOF Certified Organic Cabernet Franc and aged in 100% French oak, 50% new. The 42-acre St. Helena vineyard is planted entirely to Bordeaux varieties and is farmed and certified organic. This is the perfect wine for red meat. We will feature our food pairing with the 2013 Ehlers Estate Cabernet Franc for the December Wine Pairing Weekend event. Look for our post on Saturday, December 10.

Brecon Estate Cab Franc2014 Brecon Estate Cabernet Francmedium ruby-garnet in the glass with generous aromas of dark fruit and cigar box. Earthy, dark plum flavors combine with leather, pencil shavings and hints of crushed flower stems. Pleasing cedar flavors linger on the finish along with an interesting savory quality. Drying tannins are well integrated into the flavors which are moderate plus in length. 143 cases produced. 14.8% abv. $56.

Brecon Estate is located in the westside hills of Paso Robles in the Adelaida District and is a boutique winery with wine sales exclusively from their tasting room.

87% estate Cabernet Franc with Cabernet Sauvignon (9.1%) sourced from Happy Canyon and Petit Verdot (3.9%) are blended in “for longevity, structure and balance” according to the winery. Delicious wine.

2013 Gibbs Cabernet Franc2013 Gibbs Saint Helena Cabernet Francmedium ruby in the glass with generous red and dark fruit backed by hints of vanilla and dried herbs. Flavors open with ripe, dark fruit along with licorice notes and tobacco. Drying tannins linger on the finish which is a bit hot. 371 cases produced. 15.7% abv. $25.

5% Petit Verdot blended with Estate Cabernet Franc and 20 months of French oak aging produced a steak-loving Cab Franc. This is no shy Cabernet Franc and it will appeal to a wide variety of wine lovers. Give me a cold evening, a grilled steak, a roaring fire and this Gibbs Cab Franc.

Gibbs Napa Valley has been growing Cabernet Franc since the 1960s and have been making Cabernet Franc as a varietal wine since 2000. Over that time they have noticed a steady increase in demand for Cab Franc as a varietal wine.

There you have it. A Cabernet Franc that will please every palate and match every occasion between a warm summer afternoon and a chilly winter evening. I hope these wines will inspire you to consider Cabernet Franc as varietal wine next time you are looking for a red wine.

Thanks to every winery for their participation in this year’s Cab Franc Day celebration. Thanks to Lori Hoyt Budd, a Cabernet Franc lover herself, for organizing the celebration.

Cheers!