Lava Vine Cabernet Franc 2008 – A Summer Cab Franc? @lavavine

I love visiting Napa – and Lava Vine is now one of the reasons for that enjoyment.  You can tell that they love their brand, and their brand is great wine in a fun atmosphere.  That translates into their wine and they deliver a whimsical experience in many of their offerings. From a Charbono (no, that’s not a typo or a relation to Sonny & Cher or their offspring) which was an inky, deep juice to this Cab Franc…which again wasn’t what I expected.

When I think of drinking a Cab Franc, it’s usually 30 degrees outside and I’m hunkering down with the heat on.  I’m not sure what inspired me, but we opened this 2008 Cab Franc on Friday night (in the middle of June) and it was delightful.  I noticed the color on the pour to be a lot lighter than I expected and the wine itself was too.  No big bananas foster here – more of a ripe raspberry mixed with stone fruit.  We are lucky enough to be in the Lava Vine case club, so I now have an excuse to work our way through our March shipment…have to make room for the upcoming October one – – and there are probably some other unexpected gems there too.  Cheers.

Celebrating Winter in the Summer with the 2005 Keenan Cab Franc

Last weekend, we had the pleasure of dining with a close friend who brought this bottle out for us to enjoy.  Last year, we visited Keenan (and a few other great spots) with her and bought this great Cab Franc.  I usually enjoy this varietal in the colder months as its robust character pairs well with heavier meats and of course, chocolate.  However, our friend accidentally grabbed this bottle on her way out and we enjoyed an error in our favor as this ultra-smooth, blackberry – vanilla – flavors made a dessert in itself.

Raphael Cabernet Franc 2007 – North Fork Long Island (not what we expected)

We picked this up on our trip to the Hamptons a few weeks back.  Our experience with Cab Franc has mainly focused on Napa and Walla Walla juice, so this was our first foray into the Long Island varietal.  I poured a little into the glass and did some aggressive swirling to open it up a bit.  After literally breathing in the wine for a minute, I sensed an earthiness that reminded me of mushrooms on an old leather sofa: not what I look for in a wine.  So, I forged ahead and took a taste and to my disappointment, my nose did not steer me wrong.  The wine is produced without any oak and that’s very clear in the astringent, tangy mouth feel and lack of the big fruit that is more reminiscent in the new world cab franc style.  This is one of the first wines in a long time that I would not purchase again.

Conn Creek Napa 2006 Cabernet Franc

This was one of the treasures from our most recent Napa tripConn Creek is on the Silverado trail and has a welcoming tasting room.  We picked up the Cab Franc and a 2004 Cab Sauv that needs some more time laying down.  The Cab Franc took some time opening up, but once it did, we enjoyed it to the last drop.  It’s not a fruit in your face Cab Franc, but rather holds a bit back with some tannin and structure and still has the deep blackberry/cocoa finish.  This is a great bargain too at $25 for the bottle.