Let’s talk about Cabernet Franc….this poor grape doesn’t get much respect, and is highly underrated! I mean, look at Franc’s wife, not to mention his son! And like any good man, he’s letting his son and his wife take the spotlight. Franc’s son, Cabernet Sauvignon seems to get all the recognition and accolades these days, and it’s not only the primary grape varietal used in many left bank Bordeaux, you can find it growing in practically every major wine region in the world. And while Cab Franc’s son is living a life of luxury, Franc’s wife is not doing too badly either! Sauvignon Blanc is also a primary grape in some long-lived white Bordeaux, and New Zealand practically cover their entire map with this grape, and the expression of this grape in Marlborough is known all over the world. So where does that leave Franc? Many would say “I’ve never even heard of that grape!”
So while Cabernet Sauvignon and Sauvignon Blanc are enjoying their world tour, Cabernet Franc is sticking pretty close to home. Bordeaux has been planting this lively black grape since the 18th Century, but records show that it was planted in the Loire Valley long before that. Case in point? This wine IS from the Loire Valley, specifically Chinon in Touraine. And other than the Loire Valley, (also planted in Bourgueil, Anjou and Saumur-Champigny in the Loire) this grape is not usually vinified as a single varietal. It has shown great promise and wonderful expressions in Canada and the US, but it is usually more well-known as a blending grape.
This particular bottle of wine we tried was $28 on the shelf and opened up nicely as it sat in my glass. Aromas of bell pepper and sage at first, it opened up to include aromas and flavours of (more) sage, black pepper and raspberries, with hints of cigar box in there too! (note to self: do NOT pour leftovers into a Cotigo water bottle to take home…kinda loses its flavour that way…haha!! :D). And this being a cuvée, doesn’t guarantee of its superior quality, however, when producers release both “regular” blends and cuvées, it could mean the wine from that bottle, comes from a “vat of higher quality”, at least in comparison to the “regular” wine released. I DO know that Big Daddy Franc was pretty darn good enough in my glass!
Give love a chance…and now that you know what a Chinon is, you can be the smarty-pants at your next group dinner, and ask the server if there is a Chinon on the menu. And when he/she looks at you like you’ve sprouted horns, you can explain….haha! Cheers!