Saturday, April 23, 2011

Andrew Will Cabernet Franc

Andrew Will Cellars 
Cabernet Franc
Columbia Valley
Vashon, Washington
, U.S.A.
$25.99 at Twin Liquors, Bee Cave, TX

Color: Dark ruby
Nose: Ass coffee, fresh berries and cream, roasted orange, faint nutmeg
Body: Medium to full
Front: Red cassis, cherry
Middle: Cherry-flavored coffee, with a touch of cream
Back: Currant tea, soft tannins
Burns clean?: Yes
Cap: Cork

Andrew Will makes some phenomenal wine. But it's hard times, and now they're making a sort of second-label wine. Mind you, it's $30 a bottle, so perhaps the concept didn't quite sink in. The 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon, which is the initial release of the value series, is a total Pottery Barn Wine. But this one is different.

Now, you could ask, If you're going to try to make a more popular wine, with a wider reach, why make a Cabernet Franc? Americans don't know what Cabernet Franc is any more than they know what ass coffee is, even though both are in a lot of reds they drink. But the balance of bright, tart fruit with coffee-cream goodness in this bottle will erase such questions. If there was ever a Cab Franc that might convert average wine buyers, this is it. I'm guessing, however, that the black label Andrew Will series is going to rotate varietals, and that's all good as far as I'm concerned. Much though I want this house to succeed, I don't want too many people getting into these wines.

This lacks the power of their more senior wines--has a shorter finish and less body. But with any kind of food, it's great; it opens fast, and if this were $50 at a restaurant, I'd order it and be delighted. And second rank though it might be, this will age a bit, without question: the tannins are soft and polite, but they are insistent, balancing the acid of the fruit, and promising some deeper harmony in a few years.