Cab Franc from Italy: Drinking Quite Wittily 10/10/11
Today is Columbus Day, without a doubt the most sacred observance on any true patriot’s calendar. That means you’re probably looking for a celebratory wine to drink: after all, on this happiest and holiest of holidays, it’s only natural that we hoist our flags high in commemoration of the alliterative explorer Christopher Columbus, and his 1492 voyage undertaken on the auspices of the Spanish crown, which culminated in his successful discovery of a maritime trade route to India.
Of course, Christopher Columbus wasn’t actually Spanish, but Italian, and so today, in honor of his true heritage, I’m going to review an Italian wine. Now, the wine is a Cabernet Franc, which is a French varietal at heart, just happening to have been produced in Italy on this occasion; and I realize it would have been far more appropriate to get an Italian varietal that had been produced in, say, Spain – but are you really going to blame me for failing to plan ahead for the first time ever in my life? It’s freakin’ Columbus Day! A day rooted in the principles of unconditional love and charity!
Anyway, if that’s not enough to convince you, maybe you’ll forgive me once you try the wine (provided you can find it – Cabernet Franc from anywhere can be hard to come by, so narrowing it down to one country will naturally make things tougher). The Monteforche 2008 Cabernet Franc Colli Eugani cost me $21 at a PA state store, catching my eye over other, more expensive Francs due to its Italian-ness, which is an unusual quality in a Cabernet Franc. And you know me – I always have to be different (hence my love for this neglected grape in the first place).
So it came to pass that I brought this bottle back to my abode, and bade it open. When that failed, I took a corkscrew and opened it that way, pouring some of the delectable liquid into the vessel before me in preparation for the coming festivities, whereupon I said a prayer for Mr. Columbus, who I know is still smiling down on all of us from heaven, his fatherly visage aglow with the warmth and tenderness of-
The wine, as it turns out, was far more visually appealing than Christopher Columbus himself, appearing a dark, semi-opaque maroon in the glass, with a bright crimson hue around the edges. The nose presented pure and focused notes of raspberry jam, followed shortly by cranberries and something herbaceous I decided reminded me of tobacco leaves. After breathing, more pungent gamey aromas emerged, suggesting a touch of leather.
The palate was dry, with tobacco and cranberry notes in equal measure – there was, therefore, plenty of fruit and acidity. Tannins were soft but there, while the alcohol may have been a bit strong, but on the whole this was a good example of Cabernet Franc: a refreshing blast of fruit and vegetable notes. If I ever see another Cab Franc from Italy, you can rest assured I’m going to get it. For Columbus.
I award the Monteforche Cabernet Franc thumbs up. But Chris, old buddy, remember this: today, you’re a 10.