Irish Monkey Cellars
2006 Cabernet Franc - Lodi

Did you know that Cabernet Franc is one of the parent varieties that produce the much more famous Cabernet Sauvignon? (It was paired up with the white grape Sauvignon Blanc). For reasons that aren't obvious, it was one of the many "grapes on the sidelines", but is now having a renaissance of its own. The grape produces extraordinarily blue-black clusters, usually with high fruit acid and outrageous sugar, making for powerful wines - if produced by the same techniques as with other reds.

Mr. Lynch takes a very Old World detour in winemaking to produce the Cab Franc by allowing it to ferment spontaneously from what yeasts have become acclimated to the berries themselves. It takes longer and runs a risk of ruined wine (hence how Dr. Pasteur become so famous), but when it goes per plan, the results are profound. We age our Cabernet Franc in top-quality oak casks for no less than 16 months, sometimes more if the vintage warrants.

In one particular regard Cabernet Franc is like three other "heavy hitters": Zinfandel (or Primitivo), Touriga Francesca and dry farmed Mouvedre, in that is displays a very strong "winey" flavor. The oenophiles are probably laughing, but Bob thinks that the word is actually better at describing the intense fruit/berry/cherry/peach/plum flavor (which it is none of, actually) than all those similar-but-incomplete descriptions. This wine also has the penchant for changing not only over the period of a few hours, but for days after being opened!

The foods that are complimented by Cabernet Franc must at the same time be relatively uncomplicated, relatively boldly flavored, and anything-but-dry. Hence, our Lodi Cabernet Franc goes superbly with Boeuf Borgonne, with roast Lamb, with Goose and Venison. It is perfect for accompanying a hearty fresh-greens salad having an orange-zest and sherry viniagrette. It is one of the few wines (like Port) that can be had all by itself after dinner and before dessert.

Note: There is a unique liason between Cabernet Franc and Blue Cheeses, that everyone should try at some point. Toast some freshly cracked walnuts in a 300F oven for about 15 minutes, serve warm with generous hunks of blue cheese, thinly sliced Anjou pears and the warm walnuts. I doubt there is a better combination of flavors that Cabernet Franc will compliment.

 

Serving
Temperature Room temperature The powerful structure of the Cabernet Franc variety lends itself to the warmer presentations (which mute the dryness and accentuate the fruit). It still should't be 80 degrees though! Shoot for 65 to 70 degrees at serving, and a bit cooler if the room is quite warm.
Glass Short and Wide As the strength of the wine increases, the emphasis must be taken away from swirling (which a tall glass affords), and toward savoring relatively undisturbed. Such is the case with the Cabernet Franc.
Transition to

Primitivo
Late Harvest Zin
Amontillado Sherry
Non-vintage port
Sauternes

There is "no going back!" after Cabernet Franc ... it so dominates the palate that it needs to be followed by a sturdy, assertive, complimentary wine in its own right.

If a "secundi" entree is being served, the Primitivo would be an excellent choice, as it would with a platter of Blue Cheeses and pears.