Saturday evening Vine Spot hosted its first wine tasting event. Cabernet Franc was the varietal, and in attendance were our friends Paul and Warren of Virginia Wine Time, Jon and Megan of Anything Wine, and friends Pete, Karen, and Tasha. We would taste 8 Cabernet Francs in total, 2 - Virginia , 2 - California , 2 - New York , 1 - Washington State and 1- France . Outside of tasting these wonderful wines, there was a little work involved. Everyone would be taking notes and giving their total assessment of the wines based on a 100 point scoring system. At the end Dezel would average the scores up to see what the tasting group preferred based on a price to palate ratio.
The lineup prior to guest arriving
Certainly the outcome would be easily predictable, as five of the taster’s blog on their fondness of Virginia wines. A twist was thrown in before the guests arrived; Vine Spot would host a blind tasting where only the price would be revealed, which for some is revealing in itself.
The lineup in costume
After some talk about Cabernet Franc, its characteristics virtues and origin, etc. and friendly chatter, everyone put their wine tasting face on and the festivities were under way. Here are the results from the Cabernet Franc tasting, accompanied by a summary of notes taken by the tasters:
1. Dom Semellerie Chinon Cabernet Franc 2005
Fruit driven wine displaying a nice garnet color with an inviting bouquet of cherry, earth, rose petals and eucalyptus. Clean and pure with mixed berry and cherry flavors on the palate, nuanced with vanilla and earthy tones. Comfortable tannins and a nice balancing act made this wine from the Village of Chinon a group favorite. Overall great bargain for an enjoyable, layered, and nicely balanced Cabernet Franc from the Village of Chinon, which is said to be the birthplace of Cabernet Franc.
SCORE: 72 PRICE: $10.99
2. Waterford Vineyards Cabernet Franc, Waterford , Virginia – Vintage 2002
This nicely aged selection is brick red in color, with pleasant aromas of plum, cinnamon and cherry. On the palate are flavors of cherry, blackberry and plum followed by hints of white pepper and spice. Harmonious with a spicy lingering finish made this a top selection amongst the tasting group.
SCORE: 71 PRICE: $18.00
3. Bridgman Cabernet Franc Yakima Valley , Washington State – Vintage 2001
Medium garnet in color with an inviting bouquet of clove, cherry, raisin and flutters of chocolate. On the palate are flavors of dark berries, currant, raisin and cocoa. This selection was nicely balanced with a black peppery and lingering finish.
SCORE: 66 PRICE: $14.99
4. Clos Pegase Cabernet Franc 2004 Northern Napa Valley, CA – Vintage 2004
Ruby to purple in color with a floral, dark fruit and tobacco nose. Layered dark fruit flavors on the palate, nuanced by hints of vanilla and spice. Would have scored higher, but several tasters felt this selection was overly big for a Cabernet Franc and mildly hot. If this was a double blind tasting this voluptuous fruit bomb could be mistaken for Cabernet Sauvignon, its big.
SCORE: 66 PRICE: $23.00
5. Edgewood Cabernet Franc Napa , CA – Vintage 2000
Medium garnet in color with nice fruit on the nose, but muted on the taste. Flavors that did shine through on the palate were red and dark fruit flavors, framed in oak, with hints of leather. Several tasters found this selection a tad biting, and more of a food pairing wine; with such likes as steak and green peppers.
SCORE: 60 PRICE: $16.99
6. Seneca Shore Cabernet Franc Finger Lakes , NY – Vintage NV
This selection is ruby in color with an earthy, green olive and dark fruit nose. Flavors on the palate were of red fruit, but slightly muted, with pleasant hints of honeysuckle peeking through. This wine would have scored higher but several tasters were turned off by the nose and lack of fruit. Medium in body, with medium tannins and a solid finish makes this selection a good buy at ten dollars.
SCORE: 57 PRICE: $10.00
7. Willowcroft Vineyards Cabernet Franc Loudoun , Virginia – Vintage 2004
This garnet colored blended Cabernet Franc contains 9% Merlot and 3% of Petit Verdot and 3% Chambourcin. This selection displayed a herbaceous and subdued dark fruit nose. On the palate are soft flavors of dark fruit, green peppers and plum. This Cab offers firm tannins with a medium finish and would suit a red meat dish well.
SCORE: 56 PRICE: $18.57
8. Dr Franks Salmon Run Label Cabernet Franc, Finger Lakes , NY – Vintage 2003
This wine is garnet in color with a nice bouquet of strawberry, red fruit and tobacco. Countering the nose, were vegetal flavors that shadowed the fruit. This is a simple light bodied wine with soft to medium tannins that tasters noted was a decent value.
SCORE: 56 PRICE: $12.99
After a couple of hours of tasting, taking notes, and table talk, who knew one of the least expensive wines from a small village named Chinon would delight the palates of all; and of course, our local Waterford Vineyards was close to follow with their aged 2002 selection. Below are a few images from the event.
Men at work - Swirl, Sniff, Sip
Group just spotted the CA Cabernet Franc, big and revealing
Pete confirming his thoughts on the other big CA wine
After our tasting, we enjoyed a tasty Turkish meal consisting of beef and lamb kabob, dolma, green beans, eggplant, rice and pita, with all the spicy and mouth filling sauces that accompany. To pair with our meal was the Michael Shaps Cabernet Franc 2005, compliments of Paul and Warren, and another Cabernet Franc 2005 blessing from the Village of Chinon, compliments of Pete and Karen. Everyone enjoyed pleasant conversation and the fine wine selections, which paired nicely with the tasteful dinner. Forwarding to dessert was a delicious NY Cheesecake with a heavenly Dulce De Leche with pralines drizzle from Kluge Estate Winery. Pairing with that in superb fashion was a Lilly Pilly Noble Blend 2002, a Sauternes styled Australian wine made from botrytized Semillon grapes blended with Sauvignon Blanc grapes for a kick of acidity. Simply delicious, from not only my lips, but everyone in attendance; apricot, honey and vanilla describes this liquid gold glass of pure yummy.
Dinner, wine, conversation & friends; there is nothing better
In closing, we would like to thank our friends John and Megan (and for making the drive), Paul and Warren, Tasha, Pete and Karen for attending our first tasting event and making Saturday an ever so pleasant and ‘Wine-der-ful’ evening.