Ripe Cabernet Franc grapes might be the prettiest red-wine grapes. They are fairly small and colored a mysterious purple-blue hue that is softened by an almost imperceptible powdering of natural yeast on the skin. Tasting a ripe Cab Franc grape can offer some insight on the quality of the finished wine, assuming everything proceeds in textbook fashion during production. At harvest time, we imagine a straight line on a graph, starting with the ripe berries we are carefully handling and ending many months later with a wonderful finished wine in a glass. Such perfectly straight lines are uncommon in practice, however, and we are actually thankful for that.
Fermentation on our Cab Franc did not start off as quickly as it has in the past, and, given the high quality and strong popularity of previous vintages, we were a little concerned our graph line was veering off course. Fermentation in our Missouri white oak barrels did complete, and we racked the wine more than usual to preserve freshness. Also, we bottled later than usual. However, despite the articulations in our imagined graph, our Cab Franc aficionados will be relieved to learn that the line from “ripe berries” does indeed end at “great finished wine.”
Characteristics of its esteemed offspring, Cabernet Sauvignon, are evident, but our Cabernet Franc is softer and fruitier than most Cabs. It is dry but a true berry/raspberry juiciness balances the wine nicely. While it pairs nicely with a wide variety of red meat and marinara dishes, this is an excellent wine to sip without interference. Somehow, Nature wills things to work out for the best, and our Cabernet Franc is no exception.