Lessons on the job – Cabernet Francs

My continuing education consists of trying wines from around the world. Loving life right now, not gonna lie. We had a Cabernet Franc tasting after hours at Seven of Hearts and I was able to do a side-by-side (or rather, glass-by-glass) comparison of the 2011 Seven of Hearts Cabernet Franc, 2010 Troon Vineyard Cabernet Franc Reserve, and a 2009 “20” Cabernet Franc from Domaine des Ouches.

Ours is quite toasty at the moment. There was a distinct aroma of toast and a hint of butter on the nose! It was fruity and bolder than the others. It’s drinking well now but will reward with more aging.

The Troon Cab Franc has some green notes, but not overpoweringly so. I didn’t like the mouth feel much, but it had a nice taste. A bit thin, with metallic notes. It got better as the night went on (another reason why it’s beneficial and educational to see how a wine evolves as it is exposed to air over a meal or a period of time.

The 2009 Cab Franc from France was my least favorite, with disappointing aromatics (Chlorine!). It also got better as it opened up, however, and Byron (winemaker for Seven of Hearts / Luminous Hills) assured me I’d grow to understand French wines more over time. I think it needed some more aging, but it did have interesting earth notes.


Overall, I like Cabernet Franc. I typically like it more than I enjoy Cabernet Sauvignon, and agree with Dooley when he says that Cab Franc seems to be the most complete of the traditional Bordeaux wines (Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petit Verdot, Malbec) as a single varietal wine. I think I like Merlot the best out of the five, but have only tried the Seven of Hearts Merlot so far (which I love with sharp white cheddar).

A small tidbit about wine terminology on labels. The term “estate” is more highly regulated than “reserve.” There is no set defining standard for “reserve,” but it has come to mean special. It is not regulated. “Estate” means that it is winery/winemaker owned. Our estate Pinot Noir is under our Luminous Hills label, and that vineyard is literally in Byron Dooley’s front yard. He owns the vineyard and makes the wine, thus, Luminous Hills is our Estate Grown Pinot Noir.


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