Cabernet Franc

Jean Farris Winery “Tempest” 2007

by Tim Elliott on January 16, 2011

Tempest bottleYou never know where the next emerging wine State will be here in the U.S. but if this wine is representative of the wines coming out of Kentucky these days, this might be the place. Given as a gift from the parents of a friend of my son visiting over the holiday break, the wine is a blend of Spanish and French varieties grown near Lexington, Kentucky. Since the winery also makes Petite Sirah and Zinfandel, Eastern Kentucky must have a more extended growing season than other States in the region. Indeed, the most surprising thing for me about this wine was how big it is, both in fruit concentration and in alcohol.

There’s not a lot written about Jean Farris winery aside from their website and a few other blogger notes (I think I’m the first to review Tempest). But I think you will hear more from this winery given the quality of the wine here. The rather unconventional blend of Tempranillo works well with Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc. I hope to have the chance to sample some of their other wines soon.

Tasting Notes:

Jean Farris Winery, “Tempest”, Red Wine, Kentucky 2007 ($35) – A blend of Tempranillo, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Cabernet Franc. Garnet in color with aromas of blackberry, blackcurrant, sage and cedar. Bold blackberry fruit with cassis, white pepper and vanilla finishing with moderate tannins, nice acidity and just a hint of heat. Shows that world class wine can be made in the land of Bourbon.

Synthetic cork closure
Rating: ★★★½☆
Score: 87

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Rodney Strong, "Symmetry", Meritage 2007

For a long time now the Rodney Strong brand has stood for value regularly over delivering in their price category. Whether it’s their entry $18 Cabernet or their single-vineyard, allocated Rockaway bottling, when you see Rodney Strong on the label you can be assured you will get some thing interesting in the glass. The house style is to create round and harmonious wines with loads of sweet fruit surrounded by toasty French oak.

Their “Symmetry” Meritage is a Cabernet Sauvignon led wine that could have been labeled as this variety since it makes up 85% of the blend. But the winemaking team is aiming higher here producing a Bordeaux style blend from several vineyard sources in Sonoma’s Alexander Valley. The addition of traditional blending grapes Malbec, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot adds to the complexity in the aromas and flavors, elevating what would be a very nice Cabernet to another level. My only concern was the rather generous French oak treatment which will likely work itself out with further aging.

Tasting Notes:

Rodney Strong, “Symmetry”, Meritage Red Wine, Alexander Valley 2007 ($55/sample) –  A blend of 85% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Malbec, 3% Merlot, 1% Cabernet Franc and 1% Petit Verdot. Very deep purple in color with complex aromas of blackberry, blackcurrant, cigar box, sage and black licorice. Bold and rich blackcurrant and blackberry flavors with cassis and black pepper finishing with toasty oak and firm tannins. Decant for 2-3 hours now or put in the cellar for 5-7 years. Delicious, if a bit over-oaked, at this point but I expect this to integrate as it ages.

15.1% ABV
Natural cork closure
Score: 91
Rating: ★★★★☆

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WBW 44: French Cabernet Franc

by Tim Elliott on April 2, 2008

It’s time for another installment of our virtual tasting called Wine Blogging Wednesday (or WBW amongst friends) and this edition will be a tipping point for this event, I think, not because of being the 44th consecutive month or the theme, but the host.

I’ve written about Gary Vaynerchuk here recently and I think his hosting this month will bring a lot more people into the WBW fold. And I think his theme of French Cabernet Franc is a great choice since it’s one that a lot of us wine geeks overlook in favor of more obscure varieties. Most people know of Cab Franc as one of the 6 grapes allowed in Bordeaux red blends but in the Loire, this grape comes into it’s own.

Normally I would head over to Solo Vino in St. Paul and ask Chuck for a recommendation but I found an easier solution this time. Via Twitter, Jill from picked up the suggestion of a WBW pack of three selections for this month, next month and June. So I clicked a few buttons and purchased 25% of my WBW needs for this year.

Chateau du Hureau 2005The wine in the pack for this month is from Chateau de Hureau in the Saumur-Champigny appellation of the Loire Valley. It is 100% Cabernet Franc and made by Philippe Vatan who tends to 42 acres of vineyard plots scattered around various appellations in the Loire. The common denominator is they all are planted to Cab Franc. If this wine is any indication, I’ll be searching out more from this producer.

Tasting Note:

Chateau de Hureau, Cabernet Franc, Saumur-Champigny 2005 ($17) – Dark purple-ruby in color with aromas of black raspberry, blackberry, menthol and spices. Black currant and dark cherry fruit with white pepper and bell pepper flavors finishing with moderate, but well integrated, tannins. Very full in flavor and palate weight but also has nice green aromas and flavors. I think I’d lay this one down and see what develops in a year or two.

13.5% ABV
Natural cork closure
Score: 89
Rating: ★★★½☆

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Thanks to Gary from Wine Library TV for hosting this month and bringing the THUNDER with his post today. I’m looking forward to seeing the round-up of interesting Cabernet Franc to try after my experience here. I also think that Gary’s main point is to get out and try new wines; great advice for any wine lover no matter how geeky they may be…

Next month I’m hosting for the third time and keeping us in the Old World… yes, my favorite white variety is queued up so next time will be special. Hope you join us.

Jim Neal, Chariot, “Diana” 2002

by Tim Elliott on December 31, 2005

Jim Neal, Chariot, “Diana”, California 2002 ($15) – An interesting blend of Petite Sirah, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc. Darkest purple color, black in the center; fresh blackberry jam aromas with a hint of black pepper. Big, jammy blueberry fruit flavors with spice and rich mouthfeel. Delicious, but I’m a sucker for this type of wine. Score: 9/10

I recommend to stock up, if you see this one on your wine store shelves, along with some more Chariot Sangiovese 😉

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