On Saturday, October 6, the PAWS (Perfectly Aged Wine Sippers) group assembled for a tasting of Cabernet Franc wines from France and Washington. Cabernet Franc has been largely thought of as a Bordeaux variety, being the parent (with Sauvignon Blanc) of Cabernet Sauvignon. But in Bordeaux, Cabernet Franc generally plays a secondary role to Cabernet Sauvignon in the Left Bank Medoc and to Merlot in the Right Blank Saint Emilion and Pomerol. In France, it is only in the Loire Valley that Cabernet Franc is produced as a varietal wine. I put together three Loire Cabernet Francs and three Washington ones. Participants were asked to guess which ones were from France and which ones were from Washington. About half the tasters, including myself, got all of them right. I identified the French ones in being somewhat lighter bodied than their Washington counterparts. Here are the wines with my notes and scores.
2017 Domaine de la Chanteleuserie Bourgeul, "Cuvée Alouettes" ($17.99 - wine.com) - I picked this out as being a Loire Cabernet Franc in its medium bodied young fruit flavors. Cherry red colored, it possessed rich aromas of raspberries, cherries, plums with chewy textured ripe flavors and soft tannins. It came on like a bright young "vin du plaisir." 18+/20 points.
2016 Domaine Bernard Baudry Chinon, "Les Grezeaux" ($28.99 - wine.com) - Chinon is situated across the river from Bourgeuil on the south side. The wines are similar, but Chinon being a bit fuller bodied. This was a fine example. Cherry-crimson colored, it possessed a smoky nose of raspberries, blackberries, cherries and plums with scents of red roses, mulberry, tobacco and light incense. The flavors were medium bodied, yet substantial, with a lasting finish. 18.5/20 points.
2015 Château du Hureau Saumur-Champigny, "Tuffe" ($18.99 - wine.com) - The Cabernet Francs of Saumur are typically medium bodied yet pleasing wines. This one showed a cherry red color and aromas of raspberry, cherry and currant with scents of red roses and white incense. The generous fruits and soft tannins made it an approachable wine. 18/20 points.
2016 Walla Walla Vintners Cabernet Franc, Columbia Valley ($35)) - With a ruby color and rich, smoky aromas of blackberries, blueberries, cherries and currants, this came on as a typical Washington Cab Franc. The flavors were bursting with black and blue fruits that were intermixed with licorice, cocoa and earth. A full review to be in the November issue of the Review of Washington Wines. 18.5+/20 points.
2015 Tranche Estate Cabernet Franc, Walla Walla Valley, Blue Mountain Vineyard ($40) - Deep ruby colored, this possessed typical Cab Franc aromas of blackberry, cherry, plum, crushed roses, tobacco, herbs and incense, with medium full bodied that showed notes of licorice, cocoa and loamy earth. Full review in November. 18.5+/20 points.
2015 Tero Estates Cabernet Franc, Walla Walla Valley, Windrow Vineyard ($41) - This was the fullest bodied of the Cabernet Francs tasted. It showed a ruby color and a rich nose of semi dried berries and herbs and chewy textured flavors of macerated berries and roasted nuts, followed by a lingering sweet-dry tannin finish. Full review in November. 19/20 points.
After the tasting, Joyce and Ted Cox served three soups with assorted toppings and salad. The Cabernet Francs went nicely with them, showing how food friendly they can be. Particular favorites were the Baudry Chinon and the Tero Estates.