One of the worlds most famous wines Cabernet Sauvignon, is a cross between Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc. So what is Cab Franc? It is one of the varietals in a Bordeaux blend and is frequently used in blends. It's also a parent of Merlot, tends to ripen early as well, and is softer than Cabernet Sauvignon. However, it is the main red grape in Chinon and Bourguell; wines from Touraine’s in the Loire Valley region of Northern France.
In honor of Cab Franc Day, I chose a 100% Arizona estate wine called Primos de Bordeaux from Rio Claro wines at Clear creek Vineyards. This 2012 wine is a blend of 60% Cabernet Franc and 40% Merlot and has 13.9% alcohol. It is a medium bodied dry wine and showcases aromas of cherries, berries and brandy notes. The palate also offers flavors of vanilla and earth. The finish comes in at around 37 seconds.
You’ll want to decant the wine for about 45 minutes to bring out the full flavors. It paired beautifully with my grilled steak and garlic green beans. So I'm happy today to honor Cab Franc and its many relatives!
This week’s wine of the week is a Meritage pronounced like “Heritage”. I chose the Kirkland, Napa Valley 2013 Meritage, which was cellared and bottle by DC Flynt MW Selections, Hopland, California (Mendocino) AVA. It is a classic style Bordeaux blend with 61% Merlot, 17% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Cabernet Franc, 7% Malbec and 7% Petit Verdot. The wine has 14.5% alcohol and a beautiful garnet color. The nose showcased notes of earth and dark fruit. The palate was powerful and fruit forward with flavors of oak, dark cherry, plum, earth and berries. The tannins were smooth and velvety and the finish ran around 38 seconds.
I found it extremely difficult to pair this wine. It should have gone well with my steak, but the flavor was way too overpowering, competing with the meat and not in the least bit complementary. It would probably work better with a strong cheese. I’ve had some great Bordeaux blends that are predominately Merlot and this did not do the blend justice.
Sue Schurgin is the manager of Sedona Wine and Beer Tours and is studying for her CSW and sommelier certificates.