This wine is textbook Chinon from the Loire Valley. It has aromas of crisp red raspberries and strawberry, a medium body and a dry, high acid finish with a twist of tobacco. A fresh and enjoyable style that is ready to drink now. Rating: Good. Price: $29. Abv: 12.5. Website: https://fr.sauvion.com/. Reviewed: May 2020.
This is an excellent wine from Covert Farms in the Okanagan Valley in Canada. A blend of cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc and petit verdot and from the 2016 vintage, its style is reminiscent of a left bank cru bourgeois Bordeaux from a ripe vintage. In the glass, there are earthy, blackcurrant aromatics. The palate has very fine tannin that builds with time. Approachable now, it will suit cellaring for 5 years or more. Rating: Very Good. Abv: 14.3%. Price: $45. Website: covertfarms.ca. Reviewed: January 2020.
Labelled as shiraz, this is in fact a blend of 88% shiraz and 12% cabernet franc. I cannot easily think of where this blend might otherwise appear in the world. It opens to an aroma of game, clove, plums and spice. The palate is full fruited, with cedar undertones (oak is 10% new). Rating: Good. Abv: 14.3%. Price: $40. Website: https://terreaterre.com.au. Source: Sample. Reviewed: September 2019.
This is the most serious and high quality expression of Australian cabernet franc that I have tasted. The wine is from Terre à Terre in Wrattonbully, near Coonawarra and the border between South Australia and Victoria. The soil here is terra rossa limestone and the vineyard is known as the Crayères. This is a region to watch for cabernet franc on this tasting. Saint-Emilion rather than Chinon in style, in the glass, the wine has typical cabernet franc aromas of tobacco, red fruits and spices. The palate has prodigious length, well judged cedar and firm tannins. Built to last this wine can be approached now or over the next decade. A bargain at $40. Rating: Outstanding. Abv: 14.2%. Website: http://terreaterre.com.au. Source: Sample. Reviewed: September 2019.
You don’t see many St-Nicolas-de-Bourgueil Loire Valley wines in Australia. I spotted this one, a 100% cabernet franc, and it is a sound example of its style. In the glass, it has an aroma of blackcurrant and sour cherries. The palate has firm acidity and is ready to drink now. At $42, it presents as modest value in the local market here, but if you enjoy this style of cabernet franc and favour seeing more of it, as I do in both cases, it’s worth a look. Rating: Acceptable to Good. Abv: 12.5%. Price: $42. Website: http://www.fredericmabileau.com.
I have tasted this wine a few times now, and it is a very good cabernet franc. From the Okanagan Valley, its aromatics are restrained, reminding of blackberries and cedar. The palate is balanced, with hints of tannin. Ready to drink now, this is an enjoyable wine. Rating: Good to Very Good. Abv: 13.7%. Price: $30. Website: www.bartierbros.com
Cabernet franc from the Okanagan Valley presents as a more robust interpretation of this grape, more right bank Bordeaux than the Loire Valley. Hester Creek produce a good one. Its aromas remind of red fruits, while the palate has evident tannins and good balance. Rating: Good. Abv: 14.1%. Price: $27. Website: hestercreek.com.
Mission Hill have fashioned an outstanding cabernet blend here from the Okanagan Valley in Canada. It’s a classic Bordeaux style blend of 45% cabernet sauvignon, 37% merlot, 16% cabernet franc and 2% petit verdot. Perhaps more than any other wine I have tried to date, this wine showcases the region’s considerable potential and puts Canadian red wine on the map. The colour is deep and the aromas remind of blackcurrants and tobacco leaf. The contribution from 15 months in French oak is well judged. The palate is medium bodied, with savoury and firm tannins, bright fruit and the length on the finish long. 36 barrels produced. Rating: Outstanding. Abv: 14.5%. Price: $80+. Website: www.missionhillwinery.com.
This is a sound wine at less than $10 from the Okanagan Valley. A blend of merlot, cabernet sauvignon and cabernet franc, it has a simple fruity aroma of red berries. The palate is dry, with some soft tannins, gentle fruit and the finish in balance. A safe choice at this price. Rating: Acceptable. Abv: 13.5%. Price: $9. Website: n/a.
This is a high quality merlot blend (76% merlot, 14% cabernet sauvignon, 8% cabernet franc and 2% malbec) from Craggy Range in Hawkes Bay in New Zealand. It has blackcurrant, clove and earth aromatics that are Bordeaux like, although more left bank than right. The palate has great length and ripe tannins. Ready to drink now, this is an excellent wine that impresses beyond its price. Rating: Very Good. Abv: 13.9%. Price: $35. Website: www.craggyrange.com.