Cabernet Franc: Articles on the Cabernet Franc Red Wine Grape Varietal

Cheval Blanc: The “First Growth” of the Right Bank

When the wines of Bordeaux were classified in 1855 all of the wines were from the Left Bank of the Gironde River.  In fact, with the exception of Haut Brion, which is from Graves, all of the wines classified were from the Medoc.  Since that time, the winemaking areas of Bordeaux have greatly expanded.  Some of the best wines in Bordeaux are now made on the Right Bank including some of the most expensive wines in the entire world. 

While there is no official classification system for all of Bordeaux, there can be no doubt that if such a system was implemented today, at least a few Right Bank wineries would make the list.  Perhaps no winery deserves the mythical first growth of the Right Bank title more than Cheval Blanc.  In fact, the wines of Saint Émilion, a commune on the Right Bank, were ranked in 1955 and Cheval Blanc was one of two that received the highest rank of Premier Grand Cru Classé (A).  Those rankings were redone in 1969, 1986, and 1996 and most recently in 2006 (although that ranking is the subject of an ongoing legal dispute not relevant to Cheval Blanc) and Cheval Blanc has remained a First Growth in every subsequent ranking.

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Campo al Mare Bolgheri 2007 - IntoWineTV Episode 112

"Super Tuscans". Host Lisa Kolenda and wine experts Bartholomew Broadbent, Cezar Kusik, and Rob Renteria taste and discuss Campo al Mare Bolgheri 2007.

Rosé du Loire? Mais oui! Cabernet Franc’s Lighter Shade

The Bay Area is experiencing an unseasonable hot spell.  And here, like most places suffering under the unrelenting rays of our nearest star, rosé is king. 

But not just any rosé.  Survey the bottles of blush pinch-hitting for rouge in wine enthusiasts’ lineups these days, and you’ll find a predominance of wine from Southern France.  And rightly so – no region does rosé better than the appellations bordering the sun-lit Cote d’Azur.  But Provence is not the only show in town.  Other regions, not only in France but also in Spain, Germany, and Italy, produce delightful examples of warm weather’s red-substitute. 

William Harrison Vineyards and Winery

The Vibe: 

You don’t see many log cabins in Napa Wine country, and you certainly don’t see many stuffed bears or boar heads, but that’s only because you haven’t visited the William Harrison tasting room. The general store feel of this lesser-known family owned winery sports a relaxed and casual vibe. While the owner sprouts from an Italian winemaking family, the tasting counter feels homegrown American. Try the Estate Cabernet Sauvignon and Estate Cabernet Franc, and ask the tasting room guy if he has time to give you a tour.

Particularly good if you are seeking: 
  • Small to medium sized groups
  • Old West enthusiasts
  • Napa History buffs
  • Italian wine-history fans
Not good for: 
  • Large groups
  • Buses/limos
  • Events
  • Weddings
  • Shoppers
Known For: 
Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc
Pictures: 

Locations

1443 Silverado Trail
St. Helena, CA 94574
United States
38° 29' 33.9684" N, 122° 25' 4.7352" W
1443 Silverado Trail
St. Helena, CA 94574
United States
38° 29' 33.9684" N, 122° 25' 4.7352" W
Phone Number: 
7079638310

Peju Province Winery

The Vibe: 

Visitors to the Peju tasting room enjoy several unique experiences. They are walked through a systematic tasting, with an attendee carefully pouring and explaining as they go, while not being distracted by newcomers. If they wander into the newest wing of the tasting space, they can marvel at the exquisite quartzite floors that reportedly echo the owner’s impression of a stone Persian rug. Owner Tony Peju, originally of Iran, and his Austrian born wife, founded the winery in the mid-1980s after years of running a successful high end landscaping business. Their devotion to fine art, sculpture, and gardens is apparent as soon as one enters the drive, as the carefully pruned Sycamore trees beckon you in. Lush gardens and an antique stained glass window, coupled with their open-late reputation (unlike many of their neighbors, Peju’s doors are open until 6pm) no doubt help make this one of the most profitable tasting rooms in Napa.

Particularly good if you are seeking: 
  • Art Enthusiasts (stained glass, sculpture)
  • Garden Enthusiasts
  • Groups (no buses though)
  • People looking to taste after 4:30
  • Private tours and tastings
  • Private or Corporate Events (up to about 135 people)
Not good for: 
  • Weddings
  • Picnics
  • Those in a hurry (guests may need to wait for a tasting spot during busy periods)
Known For: 
Provence (red and white blend, Cab Franc, Fifty / Fifty (Merlot/Cab blend)
Pictures: 
Willow Creek

Locations

8466 St. Helena Hwy
Rutherford, CA 94573
United States
38° 27' 14.0436" N, 122° 25' 5.6568" W
8466 St. Helena Hwy
Rutherford, CA 94573
United States
38° 27' 14.0436" N, 122° 25' 5.6568" W
Phone Number: 
8004467358

Borgueil: The Unpronounceable, Unforgettable King of Cabernet Franc

When I think of wine that is interesting, unique, obscure, high-value, and small-production, I think of Borgueil – the small wine region in France’s Loire Valley that produces almost exclusively Cabernet Franc.

Life is Like a Mixed Case of Loire Cabernet Franc (or, A Wild Night at Solano Cellars)

If you’re looking for a wild night, grab a few bottles of Loire Cabernet Franc, call a couple of friends, and swing by your local wine shop. I kid you not. My wife and I did this very thing yesterday evening, and it proved to be one crazy ride.

For the normal among us – those who prefer to spend their evenings at the theater, clubs, house parties, or sporting events – a Cabernet Franc tasting may not sound terribly entertaining.
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