Do you like stories of forbidden romance? Some of our greatest works fiction over the years have featured forbidden romances, such as Romeo and Juliet and Lancelot and Guinevere. Then of course there are the classic love affairs that have defined moments in history, such as Marc Antony and Cleopatra and Napoléon and Joséphine. But these are not the only timeless tales of romance and love that have impacted our lives. There is one whirlwind romance that changed the world as we know it. Do you know what it is? It’s the forbidden love of Sauvignon Blanc and Cabernet Franc, resulting in Cabernet Sauvignon! The problem resulted after the “hook-up,” at which point Cabernet Sauvignon stole the show, getting all the press and all the love. Well on December 4th this all comes to an end because December 4, 2015 is the first annual #CabFrancDay!
Many wine lovers know Cabernet Franc as one of the five Bordeaux grapes, predominately used as a “blending” grape. Though Cab Franc is the dad to Cabernet Sauvignon do not confuse the two grapes for offering the same flavors and textures. Cabernet Franc is a thin-skinned black grape that results in light to medium body wine that typically delivers flavors of red fruit and soft blue fruits, chili peppers, bell peppers, and at times spice notes, savory herbal notes and a crushed stone minerality. It is also typically less tannic, less acidity and more cold hardy than its baby. It typically ripens a week earlier than Cabernet Sauvignon. Regions best known for Cabernet Franc include the appellations of St. Emilion and Pomerol in Bordeaux, and the Loire Valley. However, today Cabernet Franc is one of the world’s 20 most planted grapes and can be found growing in Italy, New Zealand, Australia, South Africa, United States, Chile, Argentina, and in Canada where it is crafted into Ice Wine. In the US Cabernet Franc has seen a rise in plantings and success in California, Washington, Virginia and Long Island.
If Cabernet Franc is as old as French wine why start a #CabFrancDay now? For starters Wine Spectator wrote an article in February 2015 that “the era of Cabernet Franc is nearly upon us.” Wine Spectator elaborates, “As retailers are learning they can sell it, winemakers around the world, outside Franc’s historical home in France, are discovering, gleefully, how well they can grow it and what it brings to their wines.” Further explaining “The elegance and the finesse of the wine versus the power” makes it a versatile food wine that pairs with everything from steak to fish.” The second reason December 4, 2015, will be the first inaugural #CabFrancDay is due almost entirely to Lori and Mike Budd, owners and wine makers at Dracaena Winery in Paso Robles. Lori has been on a one-woman mission advocating for Cabernet Franc to have its day in the sun.
Why December 4? As Lori explained, “Cabernet Franc is believed to have been established in the Libournais region of southwest France sometime in the 17th century, when Cardinal Richelieu transported cuttings of the vine to the Loire Valley. December 4th is the anniversary of Cardinal Richelieu’s death.” Works for me!
So let’s celebrate! Lori and Mike blessed me with a media sample of Dracaena Wines first Cabernet Franc vintage. Here are my notes:
Dracaena Wines 2013 Cabernet Franc, Paso Robles: This wine is crafted of 85% Cabernet Franc and 15% Petite Sirah. It poured garnet with purple highlights into the glass and offered inviting aromas of cherries, black raspberries, plums and currants with baking spice notes of cinnamon and nutmeg, accompanied by chocolate and white pepper with a touch of chili peppers on the finish. It was silky smooth on the palate with a velvet mouth-feel, integrated and tamed acidity and tannins that are well-structured and balanced, leaving a medium finish that is smooth and pleasing. Due to its age it was not overly complex but with proper cellaring more nuances will develop. This was a very pleasing wine that was easy to drink. Furthermore it is a win-win wine, for you impatient wine lovers this wine was drinking very well now so buy several bottles and enjoy upon receiving; for the patience wine lover this wine should age for 5+ years allowing the flavors to further integrate and more complexities to develop. I suggest you buy a case immediately; drink half now and save half to enjoy over the coming months and years. This wine was aged in French oak barrels for 2 years. SRP $28.
Dracaena Wines has a special offer valid for one week from publication of this article for all Rockin Red Blog readers! Simply go to the Dracaena Wines web site by December 9th and you will receive 10% off any order placed up to a case and 15% off all orders of a case or more using the discount code “rockinredblog“! Order your Draceana Wines Cabernet Franc today!
Due to the versatility of Cabernet Franc and the excellent craftsmanship of the Dracaena 2013 Cabernet Franc I paired this wine with a couple of different meals. Cabernet Franc pairs well with fresh, dried herbs so my first pairing was my favorite lamb gyros. The spiciness of the lamb with the creaminess of the tziki sauce were beautifully balanced by the elegant fruit and soft spice notes of the Dracaena Cabernet Franc. For my second pairing I enjoyed the wine with soup leftover from my next article featuring wine and food from Friuli, Italy. It was a rustic soup with ground beef, veggies, lentils and barley with plenty of dried herbs. Another delicious wine and food pairing, perfect for a rainy, cold Texas evening. Though the Dracaena 2013 Cabernet Franc is crafted in a new world style it paired seamlessly with my old world foods! Other food pairing suggestions include: barbeque, pot roast, roasted chicken, pork chops with gravy, schnitzel, cedar plank salmon, grilled portabellas, and hardy soups.
Let’s learn more about Dracaena Wines from their web site:
Dracaena [druh-see-nuh] is the genus name of the plant better known as the Draco plant. The taxonomy name allowed us to combine our scientific backgrounds while honoring the memory of our adored weimaraner, Draco in our winemaking endeavor. Our weimie, Draco, received his name in honor of Draco, the Dragon which is a constellation in the northern hemisphere. We were sitting in a movie theatre watching Dragonheart, a 1996 American fantasy adventure film directed by Rob Cohen. It starred Dennis Quaid as Bowen, a dragon-hunter, and the voice of Sean Connery as the dragon. During the movie, Quaid and Connery form a partnership… Being friends, Bowen wanted to give the dragon a name and decides to call the dragon Draco, as a tribute to the constellation of stars. We heard the name and both knew this was going to be his name. When our beloved Draco passed away on May 12, 2011… Our solution was to purchase a Draco Tree. Deciding on the winery name required a different kind of creativity. We wanted to keep Draco as the namesake but additionally wanted to merge our personalities into the name. Considering we both have scientific backgrounds, Lori with a B.A. and M.S. in Biology and Michael with a B.S. and M.S. in Food Science, it made sense to us to have a scientific name as our winery name and Dracaena allowed for this amalgamation. We fell in love with the name; hopefully you will fall in love with the wine!
“We want to make a name for ourselves with one wine now,” she said. “We will then branch out. We want to be experts at one thing rather then dabbling in multiple things.” Lori Budd, via NorthJersey.com.
In my opinion, with the inaugural release of the 2013 Cabernet Franc, I’d say Lori and Mike are certainly on the right track! I encourage you to learn more about Dracaena Wines by subscribing to their newsletter and ordering many bottles of their 2013 Cabernet Franc for yourself, friends and family. And with the holidays right around the corner Dracaena’s Cabernet Franc makes a perfect gift for everyone on your list! And remember, order by December 9th using coupon code “rockinredblog” to receive your exclusive discount!
My Song Selection: I have frequent interaction with Lori on social media. She and Mike have been supporters of Rockin Red Blog since the beginning. I happen to know Lori is a metal head. I am not into much metal but I do like to ROCK! Furthermore, Lori and Mike have done a great job crafting their inaugural vintage of Cabernet Franc; they took a shot and I am thrilled; you will be too once you get your own bottle!
Get your own bottle of Dracaena Winery 2013 Paso Robles Cabernet Franc and let me know what song you pair with it. Cheers!