Braganini Reserve Winery 2010 Cabernet Franc
Disclosure: I have to admit some ignorance when it comes to Cabernet Franc.
But I was pleasantly surprised when the doorman handed me a single bottle box when I arrived home yesterday in the early evening. Admittedly, I was not expecting any wine delivery and as such already had dinner planned out and wine chosen. And having just gone shopping for both food for dinner and basic essentials, just in case the 2nd 'Storm of the Century' was anything like the ad selling media whose bottom line benefits when disasters are on the horizon, was correct.
As it not surprisingly turning out, NYC was spared with barely enough snow to consider it a storm. Very disappointing, 2 or 3 feet would have been so nice. 5 or 6 inches, didn't live up to the media hype. Oh well, climate change has so screwed with the natural jet streams that we may well see a true snow storm in NYC in this decade.. One can certainly hope.
But I digress; I have family in from Israel for 10 days, so we get upstairs and I opened the box, excited to see a Michigan wine (Go Blue!) The bottle felt quite cool, so I didn't bother to chill it at all. I left it standing on the counter to recover from FedEx Handling Shock (no, it's not covered by Obamacare,) for a whole 30 minutes. I rarely open a bottle the same day it arrives, in fact rarely the same week or month. Knowing nothing about this wine, I didn't know whether it was unfiltered, but hoped it was not.
The veggies were cut up and wine pasta put on the stove. A couple of small chunks of frozen White Truffle Butter were chipped out of the container to be mixed into the cooked pasta.
Pop the cork and notice the lack of aroma coming from the bottle. A quick sniff of the cork gives me a little pause, my instinct telling me this CF wasn't going to be a big hit, but had no details to add. So I try to push that thinking to the back of my mind so as not to alter my thinking. Pour some into a glass and notice the dark pink coloring, yet crisp, which is different than I expected and clear around the edges. But with so little experience with CF, I had nothing to really compare it to. Viscosity is low, so this definitely isn't a big wine.
Aromas seem to be lacking. Out loud I ask myself whether my nose is stuffed. Cleans the pallet with a quick sip and then proceed to taste.... Not really sure. My cousin and I sort of look at each other in wonderment. The finish is long and smooth but just sort of 'there.' I guess not complex is a better way to put it. A couple of subsequent sips lend no more information.
Figuring some breathing time will do this well good, we sit down for dinner and proceed to taste on and off. I'll cut to the chase and come back with some detail. This wine can be summed up, as my cousin did, with one word, "weird." I've used psychological ideas like multiple personality disorder, bi-polar disorder, and others in the past to describe wines. I'm at a loss with this one.
rjquillin wrote that he could never duplicate the flavors from the first taste. Our experience certainly was the same but raised to the power of 5. We could barely duplicate any individual sips and even more odd, from glass to glass. As we sat eating and discussing the wine, I jokingly asked whether we were drinking the same wine. So we took sips from each others glasses. If I hadn't known better, I'd say we had different wines in our glasses.
My glass was quite tart and vinegary with aromas I described as a raspberry tart and she described as floral, reminding her of one of her perfumes. Her glass was like an unsweetened grape juice with greatly muted aromas, although I still picked up the raspberry tart.
As dinner progressed, the aromas sweetened and the flavors seem to progress to a Sweet Tart, I always did love those candies. The pasta shouldn't have been able to over power any wine, but definitely over powered this one.
Over the course of the next 4 hours we kept tasting the wine, never really made it into the drinking phase, it just wasn't a pleasant wine. The aromas and flavors were all over the place. Differed from glass to glass and pour to pour. The two consistencies I found were a tartness/vinegary'ness that I did not care for and the aroma continued to sweeten. At one point I noted a hint of vanilla, but didn't experience others from the description on the bottle.
Left the bottle open overnight. Not being a morning or even early afternoon drinker, I took a couple of small sips and found it improved in the vinegary'ness was greatly reduced, the tannins were showing through, the Sweet Tart taste had returned and the raspberry tart aroma was also back with the sweetness smell greatly reduced.
I've had both hit and miss wines from St. Julian in the past. I've now come to the conclusion that for me, I'm going to stick to their whites. It may well be that this CF is simply too young and needs a couple of years in the cellar. Or that my experience with CF is so minimal that this is more the norm for this variety. Either way, if you buy this, be prepared to decant and/or give it at least 12 hours to breath and even better, cellar for a couple of years. I'd be interested in trying it again a couple of years down the road, but will pass on this offer, even though I really like the idea of offers with variety in the varietals like this one. Hope WW/WCC will bring more of these types of offers to us. Just give me a couple of months to make some room in my cellar first ;)
In closing, I wanted very much to like this wine. I take no pleasure in sharing not so positive opinions. But if I didn't share my honest appraisal, I'd be a drowned rat not an artist formerly known as labrat. Thank you to WW/WCC/St. Julian for bringing us this mixed offer.
Hey you, out there in the cold; Getting lonely, getting old; Can you feel me? - Pink Floyd/Roger Waters
"First get your facts, then you can distort them at your leisure." Mark Twain
"If you think education is expensive, try ignorance." Derek Bok