I like Cabernet Franc. Be it the taste, color, or aroma, I love it all. For those who don’t know this wine let me encourage you to try it.
Cabernet Franc is the daddy of Cabernet Sauvignon. It’s one of the major varieties of Bordeaux wines and is especially used by itself in wines from Chinon in the Loire. It grows particularly well here in New England, as our climate and terroir are very close to that of Bordeaux, and is the main wine used in Upstate New York and Canada in making Ice Wine.
Lighter than Cabernet Sauvignon in color and body, though I don’t think many of us will miss the body, the Franc’s color is a paler red. On the nose you’ll get a peppery perfume, and depending on where you bottle is from, tobacco and raspberry as well. The taste is very fruit-forward, which is one of the many reasons I like this wine so much. You’ll get the same from Cabernet Sauvignon but with a mezzo forte signature vs a more finessed vibrato from Cabernet Franc.
Cardinal Richelieu is credited for bring Cabernet Franc to the Loire Valley and putting its development into the hands of Abbot Brenton at the Abbey of Bourgueil. The wine was known as “Bouchet” and is still called that in some places. Later in the 19th century Cabernet Franc will be crossed with Sauvignon Blanc to make the King of Wines, Cabernet Sauvignon.
Saltwater Farms is located about 40 minutes from my home in the Historic town of Stonington, Connecticut. The vineyard is set on 100 acres, 15 of which are planted with 6 varieties of grapes that are right next to tidal marshes of Long Island Sound. The property includes a private airport that was built in the 1930’s and used during World War 2. The winery itself is located in a restored hanger and is said to be a magnificent site to see. Saltwater Farm’s mission statement says it all, “doing what we do best,” and it has produced a great wine from their own grapes grown on the property utilizing the owners’ knowledge of New England viniculture and French winemaking techniques paired with a modern design.
My bottle was a classic Bordeaux style blend of Cab Franc and Merlot grapes aged in French oak. Pale red color gives way to a superb fragrance of pepper and raspberries. The taste, as I mentioned earlier, is fruit-forward blackberries, just a great flavor. Nice finish leaves you pleased you took the time to enjoy.
For you New York readers, the Finger Lakes have some great Cab Francs I would recommend Fox Run Cabernet Franc Lemberger and I encourage you to try them. France has some stunners and the price to go with it, but really, try this vinial you’ll be happy you did.
Wine is the drink of the gods, milk the drink of babies, tea the drink of women, and water the drink of beasts.