Go to any great wine tasting and what do you reckon will be the grape of choice for the majority of the attendees; the ‘numero uno’ red wine selected for guzzling pleasure? More than often than not it will be a Cabernet Sauvignon. Seemingly, everyone in this world, and the next, has heard of it, possibly tasted it once or twice (x100!) and sometimes affectionately refers to it as ‘Cab Sav’ or just ‘Cab’: ‘yeah, Mr. Waiter man, I’d like to order the Cab’. Do you mean the Cabernet Sauvignon or the Cabernet Franc? Wait, what?
Yes there is another ‘Cab’, Cabernet Franc, which is actually considered to be the ‘daddy’ of Cabernet Sauvignon, apparently crossed with the ‘mum’ Sauvignon Blanc. Well, that is according to scientific testing at least. ‘Dad’ certainly lost out on the family fame contest; even though it is one of the five major grapes of Bordeaux in France, its popularity is rather low-key and it tends to be one of those varietals that people think they have heard of, but more often than not, they’ll never be tell you anything about it apart from that it’s wet when made into wine. Unless, of course, they are a Cabernet Franc lover and if so, they are some of the most committed hardcore fans, whom will trample to the ends of the earth to discover the biggest daddy of them all.
I have to admit, I was previously one of those types that was not entirely sure of the characteristics of a Cabernet Franc but all that changed for me in our recent in-house Buenos Aires wine tasting; now it is the number one wine on my hit list. The compelling culprit? Finca Morera’s 2005 Cabernet Franc, from Valle de Tulum in San Juan (picture above), Argentina, whom were also responsible for that great Argentinean Syrah I reviewed the other day. Cabernet Franc is not widely grown in Argentina; it doesn’t even hit the top ten red grapes produced here, with more obscure varietals like Bequignol taking the number 9 spot. So really, in my humble opinion, that makes Finca Morera’s Cabernet Franc even more individual, spectacular and possibly, dare I suggest it, something that could reach cult wine status!?
Like the Syrah, the Cabernet Franc is a 2005 vintage, 3,000 bottle production, with 12 months in oak; however the colour had retained more vibrant ruby red flecks than its Syrah counterpart with just a hint of rustic brick browning toward the edges, while the depth appeared to be a touch lighter. Enticing aromas of ripe red currants slinked out of the glass, soon accompanied by caramel, vanilla, cocoa and a hint of stony minerality, capturing my (and everybody else’s) attention. The supple, exceptionally well balanced tannins, full bodied wine enveloped my mouth with it’s the short fruity attack before giving way to an astonishingly long, chameleon like finish, moving from herbaceous nettle notes to intense sweet spices containing potent flavors of cinnamon, cloves and maybe just a little bit of mint too. Not that I’m particularly down with the kids abbreviated lingo but I felt this Cabernet Franc called for an O.M.G!
You better believe I wasn’t the only person there that noticed how awesome this Argentinean Cabernet Franc was. As soon as I turned my back the bottle was gone…..I wonder where it went?