In our final Wine Pairing Weekend event of 2020, Wendy from A Day in the Life on the Farm leads us on an exploration of Cabernet Franc around the World. It’s an exciting topic for me, as I really love this grape variety: whether part of a blend, as in Bordeaux, or the star of the show (Loire Valley; Washington, New York, and Virginia in the US; Mendoza and more) Cabernet Franc makes some pretty tasty wines!
Wendy describes the appeal of Cab Franc around the world in her invitation post; you’re sure to find some inspiration for your next shopping trip.
And, if you’re keen to learn more, please join the #WinePW group Saturday, December 12th at 11 am ET for a Twitter chat on the subject. Here’s a preview of what we’ll be talking about, in case you’re on the fence:
- Culinary Adventures with Camilla: Honey-Lemon-Sesame Drizzled Plancha’d Veggies + Garzón 2018 Reserva Cabernet Franc
- A Day in the Life on the Farm : Hungarian Short Ribs Paired with Dracaena Cab Franc
- The Quirky Cork: Francly Turkish! Turkish Cab Franc & Lamb Chops
- Grape Experiences: “Crush On Cabernet Franc!”
- Crushed Grape Chronicles: “Cab Franc – Sailing the Loire with a Pirate Princess”
- Exploring the Wine Glass: Championing for Cabernet Franc; The True Underdog
- Cooking Chat: Easy Bibimbap Recipe with Cab Franc Wine Pairing
- The Swirling Dervish: Biodynamic Bourgueil from Laurent Herlin for #WinePW
- My Full Wine Glass: “Old World vs New World Cab Franc: Game On!”
- Always Ravenous: “Cabernet Franc Paired with Flavors of Persian Cuisine”
- Enofylz:“Domaine Bousquet Gaia Cabernet Franc Paired with Sausage and Potato Pan Roast”
- Wine Predator: Cab Franc Thrives in California: Examples from Santa Ynez, Sonoma, El Dorado, Paso Robles #WinePW and St-Nicolas-de-Bourgueil’s Amirault “Le Vau Renou” 2016 Cabernet Franc
- Avvinare: Cab franc in Friuli Venezia Giulia
- Somm’s Table: “Old World/New World Cab Franc Explorations”
My Cab Franc adventure came at the nexxus of two seemingly far-flung places – Bourgueil AOC in the Loire Valley of France, and downtown Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The scene was the recently-opened Small Wine Bar, a down-to-earth, cool-vibe kind of place, devoted to natural wines from all over the world. It’s where I met a gorgeously tempting, biodynamic French Cabernet Franc whose name loosely translates to “Boom Boom!”
Tim and Tracy’s Excellent Adventure – Great Wine without the Fussiness
Two weeks ago, Gabe and I went to pick up our Christmas tree and ornaments, which were in storage near our old apartment, about 40 minutes north of where we live now. While we weren’t psyched about a Saturday road trip, we welcomed the opportunity to stop by the new wine shop I’d been following on Instagram since before they opened.
Husband and wife team Tim Graham and Tracy Pell envisioned a small wine shop devoted to natural wines, one that was part of a community of artists, entrepreneurs, families, and friends. When they found space in downtown Fort Lauderdale’s Flagler Village, they knew it was the right fit. Tim, a DipWSET candidate, brought his 20+ years of retail wine experience to the table; Tracy, her long career in marketing and visual design.
The result is a neighborhood hang-out that will thrill wine lovers of all stripes. Whether you’re just discovering the joys of wine or you’re a seasoned professional, you’ll have a great time here. And don’t be afraid to let Tim guide you through the inventory: we had him select six bottles for us, the first of which was the Tsoin Tsoin. Can’t wait to try the rest!
Discover more about the Small Wine Shop here.
2018 Laurent Herlin Tsoin Tsoin Bourgueil (12.5% abv; $33 retail)
The Small Wine Shop website describes the vibe of this wine as “sitting in a Parisian café, wearing a scarf and sunnies.” I’d say that captures the essence of this wine perfectly.
Born of 25-year-old vines that are farmed biodynamically (Demeter-certified), grapes for the Tsoin Tsoin undergo carbonic maceration/whole cluster fermentation, a method that retains primary fruit aromas and flavors. And that’s what shows up in the glass: lovely notes of black raspberry, cherry and violet; crisp acidity, moderate tannins. It’s a wine that goes down easy, but which also pairs well with light food.
My first thought was to pair it with a platter of charcuterie, cheese, and olives. But I had none of those things! What I did have was a package of chicken thighs that needed to be cooked. I sprinkled them with salt and pepper, and a little Herbes de Provence and let them sit while the cast iron skillet heated in the oven.
I cooked the chicken for 22 minutes on each side, letting the skin get nice and crunchy. As a side dish Gabe tossed fresh arugula with lemon juice and blood-orange olive oil. A simple meal, but one made so much better by the lively, energetic personality of the Tsoin Tsoin Cab Franc!
The Story of Laurent Herlin, Winemaker
Herlin, whose professional life was rooted in computer technology, always had strong convictions about ecology and the preservation of the planet. He also longed to make wine. After studying in Beaune, and completing several winemaking internships, Herlin bought a single hectare of Cabernet Franc in France’s Bourgueil appellation in the Loire Valley.
That initial investment now includes a total of six hectares, including the four-hectare Clos de la Gaucherie. Soils are sandy topped with gravel, with pockets of clay and limestone. The vineyards are certified organic and biodynamic.
Herlin’s wines have been featured at RAW Wine, the annual expo of natural wines organized by Isabelle Legeron, MW.
Working with his wife, Valerie, Laurent has recently opened a “gite écologique” on the property, which is available for rent. Sounds like a fun weekend, doesn’t it?
Cheers to Cabernet Franc around the World!
I hope this story has encouraged you to add more Cabernet Franc-based wines to your collection. If you’re already a big fan, you might be interested in participating in #CabFrancDay, which takes place December 4th. Here’s a link to my post from the 2020 festivities; and here’s a link to the event page, thanks to Lori from Dracaena Wines, who created it. And, if you’re ever in Fort Lauderdale, stop in to see Tim and Tracy at the Small Wine Shop. It’ll make your day!