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.
This wine is a very good Bordeaux Supérieur, with the vineyard sitting just outside of Margaux. From the excellent 2015 vintage, it’s a merlot dominant blend of 75% merlot, 20% cabernet sauvignon and 5% cabernet franc. Generous in style, the wine opens to aromas of plums and red fruits. The palate is medium bodied, fleshy and has approachable tannins and good length. This is a very tasty fruit forward wine that will please. Rating: Good to Very Good. Abv: 14.5%. Price: $42. Source: Sample. Rating: Good to Very Good. Abv: 14.5%. Price: $42. Source: Sample.
Fronsac is near Saint-Émilion in Bordeaux. This wine is a blend of 65/35 merlot and cabernet franc. The vines are 35 years old on average, and the wine sees 50% new oak. From the outstanding 2010 vintage, it has savoury aromas of currant, blackberry and cedar. The palate is full bodied and the length long. This is a powerful and serious merlot with considerable intensity of fruit and expression. Rating: Very Good. Abv: 15%. Price: $68. Source: Sample. Read more: bordeauxandbeyond.com.
A second wine review from Thierry Germain Cep by Cep in the Loire Valley. This wine is an Anjou rouge, which is an organically tended 100% cabernet franc. Alas, the words “cabernet franc” do not appear on the front label like Thierry Germain’s chenin blanc. I have not found this style of cabernet franc being made in Australia. The 2015 vintage tasted here is all raspberries, strawberries, medium bodied and with a crisp smokey/twiggy fruit overlay. This is recommended and lovely current drinking and a typical expression of Loire cab franc. The vintage shown on the label photo is the 2014 vintage. Rating: Good. Abv: 12.5%. Price: $30.
This is the best Osoyoos Larose that I have tasted to date. From Canada’s Okanagan Valley, it is a Bordeaux style blend that is serious in both intent and impression. The 2014 vintage is a blend of 68% merlot, 11% cabernet franc, 8% cabernet sauvignon, 8% petit verdot and 5% malbec. There are typical “cabernet” blackcurrant and leaf characters that are very restrained, youthful and elegant. The length is long. A first class release that can be consumed now, but will benefit from a decade in the cellar. Rating: Very Good. Abv: 13.5%. Price: ~C$45.