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Wine Focus December 2022: Cabernet Franc & Meunier

by David M. Bueker » Wed Nov 30, 2022 2:48 pm

Another year is almost gone! Another Wine Focus series is almost complete.

We'll finish off with two red grapes that have their days in December. Cabernet Franc has its day December 4 and Meunier (aka Pinot Meunier) on December 16. Cabernet Franc gets lots of bottlings on its own (e.g., Loire), while Meunier is mostly used in blends. That said, Meunier does have some proponents in Champagne who do mostly or even 100% Meunier wines, and there are some occasional still bottlings. Of course Cabernet Franc is also a huge player in Bordeaux and Bordeaux-style blends, so there are lots of wines to choose from this month!
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Re: Wine Focus December 2022: Cabernet Franc & Meunier

by Bob Parsons Alberta » Wed Nov 30, 2022 5:22 pm

Been looking forward to this month. Cab Francs from Italy, Loire, Canada and who knows where else :D
Think Anjou for starters.
Guess Tim will have some gems from his caviste.
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Re: Wine Focus December 2022: Cabernet Franc & Meunier

by David M. Bueker » Thu Dec 01, 2022 8:04 pm

2009 Charles Joguet Chinon Les Varennes du Grand Clos - France, Loire Valley, Touraine, Chinon (12/1/2022)
Wow is this good. It’s got a touch of supplemental richness from a riper year, but just enough to ensure it’s properly medium-bodied, and not in any way overripe. A little hit of damp earth opens it up, and then it’s all red fruit and green tobacco. Pretty much archetypal Cabernet Franc. Reminds me a bit of Sociando Mallet, and that’s a good thing. Still has a decent tannic bite on the finish, but there’s more than enough depth to counterbalance it, or if you have more (sadly I do not) to let it age for a while longer. I expected this wine to be good, but not this good. Really fine showing.
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Re: Wine Focus December 2022: Cabernet Franc & Meunier

by Tim York » Fri Dec 02, 2022 6:57 am

Bob Parsons Alberta wrote:Been looking forward to this month. Cab Francs from Italy, Loire, Canada and who knows where else :D
Think Anjou for starters.
Guess Tim will have some gems from his caviste.


We drink a lot of Loire valley reds, of which about 90% from the Cabernet franc and Gamay grapes. But some very good wines are made from Pinot Noir in the upper Loire area, particularly at Sancerre, Pinot d'Aunis is a speciality in le Loir vineyards, Côt (AKA Malbec) can be found in Touraine and there are some Cabernet Sauvignon cuvées in Anjou.

My stock of mature Saumur-Champigny, Chinon and Bourgueil has become quite depleted. They can be very fine like David's 2009 Chinon but some of my recent bottles from the 90s have been over the hill.

Soil types in these appellation vary and some are more suitable for wines gluggable in their youth, particularly sandy/gravelly soils in parts of Saint-Nicolas de Bourgueil and Chinon. We drink a lot of these.

Here is the most recently opened. Perhaps not quite the lightest but accessible young.

2018 Charles Joguet Chinon Les Petites Roches - France, Loire Valley, Touraine, Chinon (22/11/2022)
This is a very nice juicily fruity and mineral young Chinon but squeaky clean without marked pyrazine or brett traces which many consider to be flaws but which IMO often add welcome complexity to Loire reds when at a modest level. Good though and well worth repurchase at <€10.
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Re: Wine Focus December 2022: Cabernet Franc & Meunier

by Jenise » Sat Dec 03, 2022 12:32 pm

A place where Cab Franc is doing very, very well? B.C. The minerally soils that makes the Okanagan Valley's whites so interesting is great for cab franc too, and it was my plan when we visited last fall to seek out Cab Francs to bring home. Invariably, that failed as almost every winery I went to, though they may have plenty of everything else, was sold out of their Cab Franc. It's highly sought after, and with good reason.
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Re: Wine Focus December 2022: Cabernet Franc & Meunier

by Jenise » Tue Dec 06, 2022 3:41 pm

Dinner last night was arugula and tomato salad topped with strips of grilled, garlicky portobellow mushrooms and homemade green olive bread. A perfect dinner for Cab Franc, right?

Eh....

2018 Marc Brédif Chinon Cabernet Franc
Too much oak here, it obscures everything I love about cab franc. There's no black currant, no spicy cherry, no herbaceousness. Basically, no typicity whatsoever. Sure, it's drinkable, but....
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Re: Wine Focus December 2022: Cabernet Franc & Meunier

by David M. Bueker » Tue Dec 06, 2022 4:38 pm

Huh...wood not have expected that. ;)
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Re: Wine Focus December 2022: Cabernet Franc & Meunier

by Bob Parsons Alberta » Tue Dec 06, 2022 5:31 pm

2017 Seven Stones Cabernet Franc, Similkameen Valley BC.

Purchased last year on my annual butterfly trip to BC 2 years ago. 13.9% alc, $36 Cda, good nat cork. Served with lamb and beef ribs.
Very nice medium color, one taster thought "quite light, reminds me of Niagara"....?
Olive, green capsicum on the nose, not that big. Initial entry thought was this is ready. Some chocolate tones, balanced fruits for sure. Blackberry well noted by all, some mentioned minimum sweetness. I only wish I had more than one bottle!
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Re: Wine Focus December 2022: Cabernet Franc & Meunier

by David M. Bueker » Tue Dec 06, 2022 10:03 pm

Sounds great Bob!

There’s a Seven Stones in Napa as well. Had me confused for a bit.
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Re: Wine Focus December 2022: Cabernet Franc & Meunier

by Jenise » Thu Dec 08, 2022 4:18 pm

Bob, had a Seven Stones cab last month that a friend brought over. Impressive. I'm kinda loving these Smilkaneen wines.

In the meantime, last night we opened:

2016 Saviah Cab Franc, Walla Walla
A dense, opaque, opulent, modern, totally American (not Loire!) style Cab Franc with rich flavors of Ribena black currant, blueberry, green bell pepper, and dark chocolate. Great pairing with a bell pepper salad and take-out fried chicken. A little bully pulpit: though it was perfectly suited for purpose last night, this is pretty much the opposite of what I love about Cab Franc. When I said totally American above, I meant you probably wouldn't even find anything this fleshy a few hundred miles north in B.C. where Cab Franc, and a European approach, is more highly sought after than here.
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Re: Wine Focus December 2022: Cabernet Franc & Meunier

by Bob Parsons Alberta » Thu Dec 08, 2022 5:06 pm

Thanks, yeah I passed on their CS when at the tasting bar, only keen on the CF :D
Next up for me is the 2016 Vigneti Le Monde CF from Friuli, a staple in my cellar for around $23 Cda.

Stay tuned. Oh I did buy the Adega that Jenise raved about in a CF tasting last year. Lovely winery and great experience too.
2017 Adega on 45th Cabernet Franc Okanagan Valley, British Columbia
Served blind. Mild brett mostly blows off. Raspberry fruit, herbs, dusty tannins and a hint of barnyard funk. Complex and bright, very Loire-ish. Restrained and European, a food wine that came alive when the steaks were served. Excellent; my second favorite of the tasting and a new winery to me.
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Re: Wine Focus December 2022: Cabernet Franc & Meunier

by Jenise » Thu Dec 08, 2022 7:27 pm

Bob, thrilled that you followed up on my TN and enjoyed the wine as much as I did. I'm sorry I didn't remember to add them to my must-try list when we were there in October. My Vancouver friends don't seem to know about it.
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Re: Wine Focus December 2022: Cabernet Franc & Meunier

by Bob Parsons Alberta » Thu Dec 08, 2022 11:11 pm

That was your quote not mine, have not drunk yet!
Poster in the UK reckons we should all be looking for CF from Hungary :?
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Re: Wine Focus December 2022: Cabernet Franc & Meunier

by Jenise » Fri Dec 09, 2022 1:35 pm

Oh I recognized my writing. But you did say you had a great experience at the winery, so I figured that was an Attagirl.
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Re: Wine Focus December 2022: Cabernet Franc & Meunier

by David M. Bueker » Fri Dec 16, 2022 8:54 pm

Sipping on a 2019 Corison ‘Helios’ Cabernet Franc Sunbasket Vineyard (St. Helena, Napa Valley), and it’s pretty much perfect at this very moment. Deep red fruit, warm earth and that Napa sunshine never goes over the top. Cathy Corison is an amazing winemaker.
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Re: Wine Focus December 2022: Cabernet Franc & Meunier

by Jenise » Sun Dec 18, 2022 6:38 pm

Sounds really good. I presume the 'Helios' is a more reasonably priced version of Corison? I'm unfamiliar (obviously).
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Re: Wine Focus December 2022: Cabernet Franc & Meunier

by David M. Bueker » Sun Dec 18, 2022 8:35 pm

Final note. Helios is the non-Cabernet Sauvignon label for Corison. Not outrageous, but not “reasonably priced.”

2019 Corison Cabernet Franc Helios Sunbasket Vineyard - USA, California, Napa Valley, St. Helena (12/18/2022)
Incredibly young, so much too early to do this, but I wanted to try it. It took 48 hours to fully unwind, and then it was deep red fruit, subtle tobacco and a finishing note of balsam for as clear as Christmas morning. Fabulous structural balance, and a long, long future ahead for this wine.
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Re: Wine Focus December 2022: Cabernet Franc & Meunier

by Bob Parsons Alberta » Mon Dec 19, 2022 6:14 pm

Finally get around to posting on a Cab Franc tasted downtown by Marc Vigeron importer who has worked in Edmonton in the early days.

2020 Domaine des Fontaines Anjou Villages Cuvee Gabin Loire Valley.


I mmediately thought this could be one for the cellar at 2/3 yrs. Very attractive packaging, 13.5%, wax cap, $35 Cda. Blackberry, cassis, cherry, bell pepper. Dry and some good tannins on the lengthy finish. I was very impressed with a host of fellow tasters.

Marc also served a very nice 2016 St. Emilion from Ch Clavis Orea Grand Cru. $60 Cda, med garnet color, lovely nose, nice acidity and a wow finish!
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Re: Wine Focus December 2022: Cabernet Franc & Meunier

by Bob Parsons Alberta » Wed Dec 21, 2022 2:11 pm

Winebar serving a very nice Cab Franc downtown, think arourd $23 on the shelf, good natural cap, 13 % alc. Very appealing bottle presentation. The 2017 M de Mulonniere, Anjou. Part of the Saget family.

Good nat cork, 13% alc, $22 on the shelf nearby. Ripe raspberry, cherry, blackberry. Greenish herbal aromas and spice and cinnamon. Med boby and acidity, not one to put away anytime further. Some sediment, went nicly with pork dumplings. Thin k their Chenin Blanc is here soon. :) :D
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Re: Wine Focus December 2022: Cabernet Franc & Meunier

by Tim York » Wed Dec 28, 2022 2:20 pm

Les Granges is the entry level cuvée at the outstanding Bernard Baudry estate but has rather more weight than most of its kind. Gamy/funky flavours like this, which for me are fine in moderation, used to be fairly typical in Loire valley Cabernet franc but the "modern" trend is to aim for squeaky clean and to eliminate them. So it rather surprises me to find this in a 2015, when Matthieu was already quite active in the estate.


2015 Domaine Bernard Baudry Chinon Les Granges - France, Loire Valley, Touraine, Chinon (26/12/2022)
This is another wine which does not seem to have evolved much with the passing of about 3 years. The gamy streak is still there but no more marked than before and it adds complexity to the nicely shaped medium body, charming red berry fruit, silky texture, fine minerals, fresh acidity and sufficient backbone. Good but not as elegant as I recall the 2000 vintage of this wine at a similar age. Good.
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