Archive for ‘Cabernet Franc’

August 31, 2020

Culmina Cabernet Franc, 2014

$38 is too much money for this wine. 

The pointsters will rarely write something so baldly true but it’s true.  I mean you can spend $1500 on a French CF at BC Liquor, if that sort of cash is burning a hole in your wallet.  But CF is something we have, in BC, in relative abundance.  There is plenty of wholly palatable non-plonk under $30.  And $38 is the vineyard price.  You will pay more at the VQA stores in YVR (if you can find it).

A big chunk of this blog isn’t to weigh in, pointster style, on how wonderful wine is, how true to the varietal, or not.  We have given ourselves over to the vice.  Wine we have decided is wonderful at 89 points or 92.  Most of our comment is to think of the after cash money we have to spend on wine, the exorbitant prices we pay for wine in BC, and then to look at value, per sip, per meal, and unlike the Robert Parkers of the world, with comp bottles and label mania, we basically come down to utility and satisfaction.

It’s a wonderful bottle.  It’s just at least $10 too much. 

Price: I think I mentioned it?  (And last time I did intentionally shop for a BC CF, Seven Stones, Tinhorn, Black Sage and quite a few other totally acceptable and very tasty CF’s were less; markedly so.)

Market Liquidity: The loveliness was diminished by the price tag.

August 13, 2020

Jean-Maurice Raffault Chinon, 2015

From the cellar: The 2017 can be found around town, so I’m guessing we’ve had this kicking around for a couple of years. 

Surprisingly, there aren’t a lot of posts for Chinon on the blog.  Not sure why, we gravitate towards the leather, gamey top notes of a decent Cab Franc, and this doesn’t disappoint.  A very juicy, black currant and lightly aromatic spice on the finish.  Crazy tannins considering the lie down.  Lovely with food, perfect with food, a little “loose” on the palate as a sipper.

Price: Not sure when, but whatever date we bought it, low 20s before tax.

Market Liquidity: One of those wines unlikely to get high points but highly likely to satisfy.

May 29, 2020

Black Sage Vineyard Cabernet Franc, 2017

Black Sage Vineyard Cabernet Franc, 2017

I’m surprised that the last time we blogged about Black Sage was 2014, a full six years ago.  And that was a Cab Sauv; lovely and yummy.  But, as I like to say after a few glasses, “we’ve drunk a lot of BS over the years.”

 

It’s time to just come out and say thank you, BS, for decently priced quite drinkable, hearty reds.  Zero pretension, a lot of heft on the palate, a reasonable amount of the funky Cab Franc spice and leathery smoke.  Exceptional with meat.  No dissent around the table.

 

Price: An under $30 before the four bottle discount at Save-On.

 

Market Liquidity: A plethora of smiley and thumbs up emojis.

February 24, 2019

Liber Farm & Winery, Signature Red, 2015

We did not understand this wine.  We were baffled by the weight, stunned by the attack, left listless by the brashness of the blend, and confused by its identity.  The Similkameen is awash in wonderful wine, you almost could do no wrong.  Or so we thought.  The 40% Merlot is like a chimera, the Cabernet Franc the Penn to the blend’s Teller.  I don’t think we’ve drunk a more unappealing and mixed up BC red in years.  Enough said.

 

Price: $28 as Save-On.

 

Market Liquidity: Did I say “enough said” already?

February 3, 2019

Tinhorn Creek Cabernet Franc, 2016

Yeah, OK.  I mean what were you expecting?  It’s not a discovery Chinon style.  It’s a half decent Okanagan red en route to being, several vintages down the road, er, pretty good.  It’s very berry, fruity, raspberry, red currant and raisin forward, not musky or aromatic.  It lacked depth.  A little flat for us especially as (for Cab Franc) it seemed a little weak with meat and better as a sipper, Pinot Noir style.  Price point is good and for those “edging” into CF territory a decent introduction.

 

Price: $26 at Save-On.

 

Market Liquidity: Only a notch above ho-hum.

June 1, 2018

Bartier Brothers Cabernet Franc, 2015

Good gosh do we love this wine.  Simple, straightforward, delectable.  If we’ve plowed through three bottles we’ve emptied six.  I think I’ve lost track.  This is anti-snob material though.  It’s not going to appeal to the masses but it will appeal to anyone with a nose for value and integrity.

 

It starts off funky.  On the open pour it hits a sour note.  Barnyard. Expect to be disappointed.  Give it air.  It seems pompous but decant.  Or even 15 minutes in the glass.  And then, a blossom, a blossoming.  It’s rustic and thoughtful and mellow and layered and versatile.  There is no pretense.  Your aren’t getting a “cheap” Oculus or Prospectus; rather you’re getting one of the finest table reds BC has to offer.  In our opinion.

 

Price: Around $24 in various private and public liquor stores (although the vineyard will sell in 3, 6, 9, and I’d recommend a direct order, or pick it up where you can get a discount on six).

 

Market Liquidity: One of the most reasonably priced and most pleasurable “honest” reds in the BC OK.

April 6, 2018

Kraze Legz Black Bottom Stomp, 2011

There is nothing bad to say about this wine.  As a wine.  It’s a generous blend, fruit forward, lovely notes of tobacco and plum, easy to drink, food friendly.  Has the velvet of Merlot and a bit of the funk of Cab Franc.  If it sold at $22 or less I’d buy a couple of cases.  No doubt it’s sold out at the vineyard due to it’s remarkable approachability.

 

Here’s the rub: This is a wine that France and Argentina and Australia can produce and retail at $10 less.  Gismondi recently gave 91 points to a Cotes du Roussillon blend (Syrah and Grenache); different varietals I know, but wowza, it just flattened the KL.  And the CdR has years ahead of it.  That is just the tip of the iceberg.  Half decent and pretty good and not too bad BC wines are regularly overpriced.

 

This wine, which btw we really enjoyed, I want to stress that part, but this wine is indicative of the reason we started posting seven years ago.  I mean you have to either pay through the nose for Hypothesis, or suck it up for generic blends, and the decent, everyday wines, like the KL, well they are wonderful to drink but sting at the cash register.

 

There is room here for a whole editorial on the nascent BC wine industry, tax, labour, distribution, regs, the lot, and we don’t need to belabour it.  This is a simple consumer blog.  We have after tax dollars, not too many, and we like wine.  And, importantly, we’d love to support the BC wine industry more fully.  But it’s a snub to average wine drinkers that great BC wines are $20 more than foreign equivalents and good wines about $10 more.

 

Price: $29.99 before taxes at Save-On Foods in White Rock.

 

Market Liquidity: Crazy name but krazy good.

December 31, 2016

Seven Stones Speaking Rock Cabernet Franc, 2013

seven-stones-speaking-rock-cabernet-franc-2013

Another “Big BC Red” hauled out for the season.  Think of an air-horn, the kaboom in a Road Runner explosion, a thud and thump of Cabernet Franc so ridiculously assertive it nearly deafens.  Far from our favorite amongst Seven Stones many fine reds, this is still wonderful, if unsettling.  Of a different vintage John Schreiner wrote that the SS CF is a “swashbuckling” example of the varietal.  That and then some.  The deepness of the berry flavour is immediate and lasting, mitigated by a coarseness that is not so much aromatic as dead weight.

 

If you’re new to SS this shouldn’t be your first bottle.  But if you like their wines, which are grown in the Similkameen Valley in a place as near to heaven as BC gets (please, no federal park, please, no dam on the US side of the border), this is must for a sense of how much can be done on the north slopes of the valley, especially up against e.g., their Meritage or Syrah.

 

Price: $30 at the vineyard (although not that hard to source in private shops for around $36-$40).

 

Market Liquidity: An Okanagan heavyweight without the deftness or broad appeal found elsewhere in the Seven Stones catalog.

August 18, 2016

Quinta Ferreira Cabernet Franc, 2010

Quinta Ferreira Cabernet Franc, 2010

An exceptional BC Cab Franc but maybe not an exceptional Cab Franc?

 

Cherries, berries, with a hint of candied flowers, that soapy sweet smell of guest soaps back in the day, soft and floral and fake, then a punchy spice mix on the palate, a mix of clove, star anise, pepper.  To my mind A1, if at times without polish.  Not as swoon-worthy as the Alegria blend, but delicious to the dregs.

 

Price: $30 at the now defunct White Rock Swirl.

 

Market Liquidity: Assertive but not exceptionally assured.

July 12, 2016

Cassini Cellars Cabernet Franc, Collector’s Edition, 2012

Polished to within an inch of its life.  Any smoother and it would be Simoniz.  For those of us who purposefully pick out a Cabernet Franc (as opposed to say a Meritage), we probably have a predilection for a certain CF flavour profile.  I err to the side of what I call the saddle room, the pointsters call it the pencil shavings; I like the grittier elements, the musky, earthy, spiciness of CF.  This is floral, fruity and brimming with a heady bouquet of violets and candied fruit, much more reminiscent of a California Zin than (to my mind) Loire CF.  In fact, it has an assertiveness, a middle finger to Napa/Sonoma: Anything you can do Okanagan can do too.

Cassini Cabernet Franc 2012

Given the price point, I was hesitant.  I suspect a boozer willing to cough up $35 for a BC red will be happy with this bottle; in the end I was.  It is, after all, annoyingly food friendly and deceptively easy to drink despite an obnoxious 14.9 per cent alcohol volume.  It’s well balanced and has an elegance which would suit an occasion where a wine twice the price might be expected.  We’re going to taste test compare with the much cheaper Cassini Quattro, later this week.

 

Price: $35 at Swirl in White Rock before they closed; sold out at the vineyard.

 

Market Liquidity: Worth it but maybe not so worthy.