Saturday, January 30, 2010

Franciscan Cabernet

Franciscan Winery
Cabernet Sauvignon
Oakville Estate
Napa Valley
St. Helena, California, USA

$19.99 -- Franciscan Winery, St. Helena, CA

Color: Dark garnet, a very faint hint of peach at the edge
Nose: Coffee, sour plum, raspberry
Body: Full
Front: Plum, roasted fig
Middle: Broccoli, espresso
Back: Licorice, easygoing tannins
Burns clean?: Yes
Cap: Cork

I'm astonished to find that I haven't reviewed a Franciscan wine before. I've bought at least three cases of them; have examples of the 2003 and 2004 Cabs carefully stored away; am a fan of their "Cuvee Sauvage" naturally fermented Chardonnay; and like the Magnificat blend a lot. They are owned by the same folks that own Mount Veeder winery of whose wine I have spoken highly--so what happened?

I don't know. But I'm more distressed to find that I've consumed all but two bottles of my stash of the 2004 Cabernet. I remember thinking when I first tried it at the winery a few years ago that it had potential to be tasty as all get-out in a few years, and lo, I was correct. So why didn't I wait?

Because you can't wait forever. Life is short, my friends, and writing this blog entry will do good work if it reminds me of that. This is a French-style wine, which I suspect has a good dose of Merlot and a little Cab Franc in it. It has a rich (but not overripe) dark fruitiness balanced by distinct (and pleasant, to me) vegetal flavors, herbs, and coffee. Great with food, it will make a wide variety of drinkers happy. If you find some, save it for me.

A query for my readers: How the hell did this winery get the domain? I realize St. Francis committed to a life of poverty, but surely bogarting the domain--especially were it *not* to sell anything--would have been consistent with that apostolic intent?