Showing posts from October, 2008

California's Cabernet Franc Master

Now is the time for all good men (and women) to come to sensible assessments of Cabernet Franc. Cabernet Franc? You mean that that green, underripe grape?

Hey, look at it this way: Run-of-the-mill Cabernet Sauvignon is usually about as pleasurable as sandpaper. Average quality Sauvignon Blanc tastes either like asparagus or cat pee. Low-level Pinot Noir can be pret-ty thin, and don’t even get me started on the dreary droves of Merlot and Chardonnay still flooding our markets.

My point: average quality Cabernet Franc (like cold year Chinons, Bourgueils and Saumer Champignys) can indeed be light, herbaceous, a little tart. But in good years, they can be glorious, even lofty: redolent of floral, cassis, and dusty, raspberryish fruit; dense and multi-textured on the palate.

From the gastronomic perspective, we’ve always had a field day with good Cabernet Franc; with its aromatic quality expressively similar to Cabernet Sauvignon (Cabernet Franc making up half of Cabernet Sauvignon’s clonal l…