2003 Girard Winery Cabernet Franc Napa Valley California. 2003 $40 from Andrea Immer's Wine Club.
I've now received my second shipment from Immer, and remain very impressed by her choices of wine. I'm very much a dabbler when it comes to trying new wines -- I love to try wines that other people suggest, in part to see how my taste compares with their's, in part to learn more about wine itself. This seems to be basic to my personality; I follow the same approach with music, books, hiking trails, and more.
The wine was a deep red color, deep hue, lovely aroma of licorice and spice and fruit, very good fruit with minty notes, no apparent oak, medium mouth feel, light tannins, excellent balance, long finish with great complexity, very easy sipping wine. 4*
Immer's take: "Based on the re-orders, a great many of you enjoyed the 2002 vintage of this wine as much as I did. This is an impressive follow-up to that great wine. Only in top vintages, Girard bottles a few hundred cases of varietal Cabernet Franc, most of which is destined for blending in their signature Napa Valley Red Wine. Based on our tastings of older bottles of that wine, I believe that this Cabernet Franc has excellent aging potential, too. So if you can manage to wait (it is delicious now), I think a few bottles of this in your collection will yield a whole new level of complexity when opened 5-7 years from now. [Immer bases this judgment on her experience with the 2002 vintage; I have my doubts that it would improve much with age, but it is delicious now, and could see buying a few bottles to follow the wine -- it sure is delicious now, and I can't see it falling apart any time soon.]
"I think the fruit in this wine really shows the Oakville sub-appellation character of anise and Jordan almonds in the scent and really intense fig and cassis on the palate. It is big and velvety, with just a touch of the crushed mint and black tea leaf character that are typical of Cabernet Franc when it gets perfectly ripe."
Immer suggests drinking this wine with hamburgers; her husband makes a combo: "The key to this burger is the proportions of sirloin and chuck, which you will want to buy and grind yourself. Another critical element is the seasoning. John's recipe was inspired by an Alton Brown episode on burger perfection. Even Alton, whom we ran into at a fund-raiser last year, agreed that John's approach to seasoning the burgers trumps his own. We almost always add blue cheese, and we serve the burgers not on buns but on jumbo-size Thomas's English Muffins, toasted quickly on the grill right as the burgers are coming off.
John's Burgers; Serves 4
3/4 pounds beef chuck
3/4 pounds sirloin
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon coriander seeds, freshly ground in a spice grinder
Prepare a charcoal grill, or preheat a gas grill to high. In a food processor, combine the meats, Worcestershire, salt and pepper, and process to a medium grind. There should still be a little bit of chunkiness. Shape into four or five 3/4-inch-thick burger patties and season both sides of the patties with additional salt and pepper and the coriander. Grill burgers over direct medium heat until the internal temperature reaches 160° F for medium, about 8-10 minutes, turning halfway through the grilling time. Serve the burgers on toasted buns with blue cheese and/or whatever condiments you like.
Winemaker's Notes: "Our Oakville Cabernet Franc is always an important component of our Artistry (Napa Valley Red) wine. With each vintage, our evaluation panel determines whether a portion of the Cabernet Franc should be set aside for bottling as a unique varietal. The 2003 Cabernet Franc made the grade and we are very excited with the prospects for this wine.
The blend consists of 93% Cabernet Franc and 5% Malbec, and small amounts of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Petit Verdot. Dark ruby red, with lush notes of blackberry, kirsch, blueberry and very subtle notes of herbs and spices. The soft but firm tannins are evident showing the ageing potential of this wine. Total cases made: 390. We only produce our Cabernet Franc in exceptional vintage years.
Our grapes were hand sorted and gently crushed. We used native yeast for fermentation and the wine underwent malolactic fermentation in the barrel. Aged 24 months in French oak and then bottled unfined and unfiltered. Alcohol 14.3%.