Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Appreciating Cabernet Franc

Opened a bottle of Les Varennes du Grand Clos 2004 from Charles Joguet (Chinon) with dinner the other evening and how well worth the 5 year wait it was! Dark rich black cherry robe, you can almost smell the cherries. An oppulent mouthfull of red fruit with soft tannins and surprise bursts of caramel going on in the background. This in my humble opinion is how a real single varietal French wine should taste. C'est magnifique!

It was at this moment and in tasting this delicious wine that I realised the difficulties the 'general consumer' has in fully appreciating Cabernet Franc. Now 2004 is young for a good Chinon. In fact it is recommended to drink 2012 but it's now 2009 and folks you just don't want to wait. In general the up to the counter wine tasting public are given 2007 / 08 wines to taste and to be honest without food this is a tricky task. The assertive tannins can sometimes mask the rich plummy fruit that this rich stand-alone varietal has to offer. As wine professionals our job is to educate the consumer to be patient.

It is not necessary to worship at the shrine of the £4.99$ supermarket plonk that has been mass produced, filled with fruit flavourings and tankered from the otherside of the world. Take a little time out to think about what you are drinking, how it has been produced and who has produced it. Here's an idea. Buy a good case whilst you are in the Loire Valley on your Wine Tour- taste one when you get home with a menu to match - lay the other bottles down and repeat the same exercise each year for the next five years. Invite friends and compare notes you will see the results for yourselves. Good luck and hopefully you will start to understand a little about good French wine.

Sunset over the vines at La Grande Maison

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