This month Cabernet Franc takes center stage. Cabernet Franc is often overshadowed by the bigger, bolder Cabernet Sauvignon but it has been around a lot longer – it’s actually the parent (along with Sauvignon Blanc) of Cabernet Sauvignon. As it originated in southwest France, Cab Franc is a predominant grape in Bordeaux blends, but it also finds its way into Super Tuscans and on its own in wines from South Africa to New Zealand and even Long Island. Although the region where Cabernet
Franc really shines and shows diversity, in our opinion, is the
Naturalist: Loire Cabernet Franc (and a little Sauvignon Blanc)
We have three wines from two (of our favorite) Loire producers for you: Clos Roche Blanche and Domaine de la Pepiere.
Clos Roche Blanche produces wine from their family vineyards originally planted in the late 1800’s in Touraine. Proprietor Catherine Roussel and winemaker/grower Didier Barrouillet both below in a non-interventionist approach to winemaking – the vineyards became certified organic in 1995, ferments are spontaneous and no SO2 is added. They focus on mainly red varieties – Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cot – and Sauvignon Blanc.
Domaine de la Pepiere is one of the best Muscadet producers out there but makes some a small amount of red wine as well, as proven by this delightful little number. Winemaker Marc Ollivier and business partner Remi Branger work organically in the vineyard and uses natural yeasts (rare in the region). Known as a white wine producer, Ollivier has said that he always wanted to make red wines because they are “perfectly adaptable to our terroirs.”
2013 Clos Roche Blanche Sauvignon #2
2013 Clos Roche Blanche Touraine Rouge Cuvee Pif (Cabernet Franc/Malbec)
2013 Domaine de la Pepiere Cabernet Franc ‘La Pepie’
Gastronomist: California Cabernet Franc
There are some great Cab Francs coming out of California as well, of course. So, we’ve chosen two new releases from Broc Cellars and Roark Wine Co. for you. They represent Cali, but are also reminiscent of their Loire counterparts in different ways.
Ryan Roark of Roark Wine Co. makes a handful of wines in Buellton in the Santa Ynez Valley. While working at a vineyard management company he stumbled upon a Chenin Blanc site planted in the 60’s. He decided to purchase the fruit for himself and make a small amount in a friend’s winery. His operation has clearly expanded since then, but it is still small production and basically a one-man show. This new vintage of Cab Franc is delightful- tart and fruity with those classic green Cab Franc aromatics.
Chris Brockway of Broc Cellars is always experimenting with different vineyard sources and grape varieties. His Cabernet Franc comes from two sites, one in Santa Barbara and the other in Paso Robles. Most of his red wines see whole cluster fermentation and this is no exception. The result is a wine with “softer/fleshier texture.” While Roark has made a more fresh and gulpable Cab Franc, the Broc has an addition of 15% Cabernet Sauvignon giving the wine “a more medium bodied Bordeaux nuance as opposed to my single vineyard bottlings of Cabernet Franc which are more Loire inspired.
2012 Broc Cellars Cabernet Franc
2013 Roark Wine Co. Cabernet Franc