Santa Ines Winery 2006 Cabernet Franc

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Cabernet Franc: The Grape That Never Got Any

Guest Post by Brian Hedrick!

Cabernet Franc is like the elegant, elder brunette, thin-skinned and wisest of the Cabernet Family, one of the five varietals of Bordeaux. It’s often used in blends to cut at the tartness and tannins of a Shiraz or it’s more popular progeny, the Cab Sauvignon. Interesting fact you probably know: the Sauvignon Blanc and Cabernet Franc grapes met on some steamy night and passed along their DNA to the Cab Sauvignon, so we owe the Cab Franc quite a bit. Or so we think.

So in homage to this patriarch/matriarch, we present the 2006 Santa Ines Cabernet Franc (made in the Santa Ynez Valley and, one must deduce, named after the Santa Ines Mission there, not the Santa Ines vineyard in Chile. That was complicated! Whew! It’s made at the Kalyra Winery by the vintner Mike Brown). A pal said (paraphrasing), “this is my go to wine any time I’m heading off to drink other people’s more expensive wine at a party or something, because it’s good enough to make me feel like I’m not being cheap, and almost everybody says ‘huh. Cabernet Franc. That’s different.'”

COLOR: A dark cherry that wouldn’t concede a hint of purple, even if you took a spectroscope to it (that’s not true, but it’s a statement with conviction, so just go with it).

All fruit and booze, but nothing overpowering. Blackberry and cherry, and a whisper of vanilla to make you want to wash down that first tri-tip/sauteed zucchini-combo bite. Has a hint of an alcohol kicker on the exhale (more on that).

TASTE: The mild fruity nose deceives, as the alcohol is heavy in the swish and the swallow. Wouldn’t hurt to decant this one to allow the flavors to pop a little and to give it some room to flower. Tannins are pretty light but the peppery texture rides the tongue through the swallow.You’ll enjoy the second glass more.

Gotta say. we’ve had three or four of these now and they’re inconsistent, but 3/4s of them have been worth finishing off so it’s worth a try.Bottom line is it drinks a little better than the nine bucks you spent on it would indicate and like we said earlier, it’s a little more interesting than you average Cab,(Sauvignon or otherwise).

WITH FOOD: This one works with typical appetizer fare or a low-brow steak and veg meal.

WHERE TO BUY: 8.99 at Trader Joe’s. Just about the only place we’ve seen.

What Do You Think?