Taste masthead.

HOME > TASTING NOTES > CABERNET FRANC


CABERNET FRANC

October 9, 2000 • Jon's Bear Club

This turned into one of the most amazing and interesting tastings PfW has held. Conceived as a joint venture with Tablewine.com (compare their results: "Francly Speaking"), we chose Cabernet Franc as a varietal that frequently shares the spotlight with its more popular offspring, Cabernet Sauvignon, but rarely gets attention on its own. Jon's hospitality and cuisine were both superb. The line up covered a fair span of appellations and the broadest possible spectrum of price and brand caché. In fact, an entirely separate article is necessary to detail and analyze the ramifications and implications of our pleasure!

Brand
Varietal or Proprietary Type Vintage & Appellation
$ price - alcohol content

Compilation Tasting Notes
(bold type = consensus; ? = flaw?)
[technique, if known]
#Rank
Buying Advice

La Jota
1988 Cabernet Franc
Napa "Howell Mountain"
$30. - ?%

Deep ruby color with a hint of garnet; attractive aroma mingles pine, orange peel, spice, licorice, violets, berries, oak; elegant, well-integrated, round, slightly oaky flavors, could use more fruit; balanced, slightly tart (bitter?); assertive tannins, astringent; long, pleasant finish. Excellent showing of a well-cellared wine.

#1
Very Highly
Recommended

Justin
1996 Cabernet Franc
Paso Robles
$29. -
14.1%

Deep plum color; big aroma, complex with plum, bell pepper, roasty-toasty, tar, coconut, American oak (too oaky?), fruity, aromatic (ethyl acetate?); rich, ripe flavors (overripe?) are similar, somewhat disjointed; balance is quite tart, snappy; smooth tannins in a tart, pleasant finish. Cellar time may help bring this together. [100% varietal, 41 months in American oak]

#2
Very Highly
Recommended

Sinskey
1995 Cabernet Franc
Carneros, Napa
$27. -
14.1%

Deep plum color; complex, cedar, vanilla, tar, earth, spice, salami, oak, very ripe, port-like (some ethyl acetate?); tight, extracted fruit, juicy, spicy, somewhat hard, hollow flavors; very good balance; drying tannins, but not big. Overblown style, but very well done. [1000 cases produced]

#3
Highly
Recommended

Ravenswood
1998 Cabernet Franc
Sonoma County
$12.50 -
13.6%

Deep plum color; young, grapey, cassis, rich, deep blackberry fruit, clean (albeit two comments of faint earthy or yeastiness); big monster, youthful, very ripe, pleasant cherry fruit flavors, dominated by tannins; long, but slightly rough finish (stemmy?). Much improved with food, might improve with cellaring.

#4
Highly
Recommended

Pepperwood Grove
1998 Cabernet Franc
California
$6. -
12.5%

Medium plum-garnet color; vanilla, cassis, faintly tarry, smoky, herbal-bordering on vegetal, spicy (older?); big cassis fruit flavor, somewhat jammy, not varietal (tastes more like a blend than other wines), some stemminess; medium body, some richness; good balance, faintly tart; soft tannins, short finish. Pleasant, but not varietally distinctive.

#5
Highly
Recommended

BEST BUY

Cosentino
1998 Cabernet Franc
Napa Valley
$35. -
14.5%

Deep ruby-plum color; complex, licorice, plums, spicy, vanilla, perfumey, sweet wood, oak; simple flavors are oaky, similar to nose, rich, fair depth; medium-full body; balance okay (too sweet?); fairly soft tannins; slight heat and bitterness in long finish. [unfined, hand punched-cap, open fermentation]

#6
Highly
Recommended

Gundlach-Bundschu
1998 Cabernet Franc
Sonoma Valley
$15. -
14.0%

Deep ruby color; clean, attractive, ripe, sweet, young, subdued blackberry, cherry fruit, with cocoa, some toasty, smoky hints; good flavors, similar to nose, woody, slightly hollow in middle; fairly well-balanced; medium body; gripping tannins; medium-long finish. Taste improved noticeably with food.

#7
Highly
Recommended

Ch. Cheval Blanc
1981 St. Emilion
(French Bordeaux)
$115. to $225. (current)

Deep garnet with brickish edge; initially closed in, complex, cocoa powder, herbs, bell pepper, with a slightly gamey (brett?), earthy element, slightly woody; rich, warm, leathery flavors; medium tannins; good balance, slightly lean; long, drying finish. [approx. 66% Cabernet Franc, 33% Merlot, 1% Malbec, 20 months in barrels]

#8
Highly
Recommended

Ch. Cheval Blanc
1985 St. Emilion
(French Bordeaux)
$185. to $460. (current)

Deep garnet with brickish edge; subtle plum fruit, opulent, complex with herbs, spice, bacon fat, bell pepper, pine, earth, brettanomyces, some leesy elements; gamey, cumin, caramel and earthy, brett flavors dominate lean fruit; good balance, faintly tart; soft, smooth, short, earthy finish (tired?). [approx. 66% Cabernet Franc, 33% Merlot, 1% Malbec, 20 months in barrels]

#9
Highly
Recommended

This Panel included Regulars Roy, Marlene, Jon, Ray, Jim, Ron, & James
About Cabernet Franc

TASTINGS

TOP
METHODS

VARIETALS

Includes: Why Wine? | Wine & Health | Social History | Sensory User's Manual | Grape Growing | Wine Making | Varietal Profiles | Sparkling Winebullet.Information on Reading Labels, Selecting and Buying Wine, Serving and Storing, etc.bullet.Taste includes the compiled tasting notes from our monthly panel, as well as reports on public tasting events, wherever we attend them, and notices of recurring wine events in Central California. There is also a Food & Wine section with a few wine-friendly recipes.bullet.In Aftertaste, see if you agree with our opinions and editorials in Wrath, find our Reading List and pages of links in Bacchanalia, to discover additional sources of wine information. You might also visit our Sponsors, who support this site.bullet.Contact information, short bios of the PfW tasting panel and the stories of PfW's formation and the web site genesis.


SEARCH: Match: Any All Exact (Spelling?)

 


Page updated October 5, 2001
Except as noted, site design & content © 1999-2002 by
Jim LaMar, WebDrone. All rights reserved.