David Stannard of Paradise Rescued in Cardan, Bordeaux has kindly written a guest post for us on a topic close to my heart . . . about his Cabernet Franc; a grape full of delightful surprises, producing excellent wines.
I will never forget that snowy day in January 2010. Our meeting was delayed due to the bad weather. We had a plan of sorts . . . along with our commitment to sustainability, we wanted to produce organically due to our proximity to our neighbours and their young families. Albane arrived, her mother Pascale too – uninvited! A unique partnership begun, Paradise Rescued was born; work began to reclaim a vineyard and produce a wonderful varietal Cabernet Franc. Albane became our organic viticultural adviser and then wine maker; Pascale our dedicated, skillful vigneronne and winery manager.
The Hourcat Sud Cabernet Franc block in the village of Cardan, Bordeaux block is tiny – just 0.45 hectare! The 100% varietal CabFranc that it produces is almost unique in Bordeaux. CabFranc is more often the hidden unspoken softer smaller percentage partner in the assemblage or mix of wines varieties dominated by her big two Bordeaux varietal cousins Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon.
In a modern world of a bold often brutal big red wines, CabFranc is a different but much more subtle player – the princess amongst kings, emperors and dominant queens. When produced in a warmer climate such as Bordeaux, it’s finesse softness and silk stand out. When lovingly grown with carefully ripened fruit, gone are the green grassy tastes and harsh tannins so often evident from cooler regions. In comes soft perfumed cherry fruit on the nose, a bright crimson colour, a soft medium to full palate, gentle tannins and a long slightly spicy length.
The organically produced hand crafted Paradise Rescued Cabernet Franc is specifically made for early drinking with gentle maceration and then maturation in 1, 2 and 3 year old oak. The objective is not to push the fruit too far but to let the freshness of organic viticulture tell its story of each (different) vintage. The Paradise Rescued Cabernet Franc has a distinctive unique taste that, despite the huge seasonal variability of the last four vintages, continues to show through year on year. When young, Bordeaux CabFranc takes on a cassis nose and body which softens to cherry with age. The heart of the wine is medium bodied but complex from the oak. The tannins are supple with an extraordinary spicy length – a unique gem, a princess of red wines.
Because of its subtlety and finesse, Cabernet Franc makes the perfect food wine for roast meats, gently spiced foods and all but the strongest richest cheeses. A delightful flexible food friendly wine.
Cabernet Franc is no spoilt princess, she prefers to create special moments and spoil others . . . that’s the kind of princess we all love!