Cabernet Franc, not to be confused with Cabernet Sauvignon (a different grape entirely), has kept a pretty low profile until more recently. The wine tends to be big and rich (wait, isn’t that a country band?) like Cabernet, but often has softer tannins, is spicier, and has more herbaceous or vegetal aromas (think bell peppers and herbs). Primarily used as a blending grape in the past because of its lack of structure, it’s becoming more and more common to see it as a stand alone wine (which is good news to me). If you like Cab Francs, this 2010 Tamarack Cellars Cabernet would be a great one to add to the wine rack, and it’s 100% Cab Franc!
A couple of years ago while in Walla Walla, I visited Tamarack Cellars. The winery is located in a restored WWII fire station and barracks, so it’s not only got a cool historical element, but it’s also very open and industrial. I remember liking the Cab and Cab Franc but all the wines were tasty, and this one is still a stand out wine. Plum, spices, caramel and vanilla bean with a hint of toast, it’s a dry red with nice tannins and a pretty long finish. I think the smoke and spicy flavors would complement a grilled meat or anything with a peppery/herb sauce. I want more!
PS – Try to drink the wine up within the first day…after being opened for awhile the tannins become slightly more drying and less smooth.. not bad at all, though. I know, I know, twist your arm to drink it up at once. That’s what friends are for.
Producer: Tamarack Cellars
Region: Wahluke Slope (Columbia Valley WA)
Varietal: Cabernet Franc
Cases: 902 cases
Price Point: $26-28