Kalamata Olive and White Bean Soup, Beef Bourguignon, Zemora Cabernet Franc, Gush Etzion Cabernet Franc, Ella Valley Cabernet Franc, and a Four Gates Specialty Blend
This past week saw us hosting our friends for a special night of Cabernet Franc. As stated already, we really love Cabernet Franc for how true it stays to the fruit, and for its wonderful olfactory qualities. So when we had the chance to unleash our own Cabernet Franc vertical, it was a no brainer. I have been saving these for an evening, and it was really nice to say the least. The meal matched the wine to perfection, if I say so myself. As was advised here by Daniel Rogov, we paired it with a nice Beef Bourguignon and our ever changing Kalamata Olive and White Bean Soup. To be truthful, I can never keep to a recipe, I am always tinkering while leaving the core consistent. The soup is always a shock to first timers, but once they get over the obvious existence of olives in their soup, they come around to appreciate their subtle yet forceful personality. The main course was a combination of Beef Bourguignon that was modified to be gluten free. The batter for the meat was substituted with ground almonds, which were actually quite nice. I totally forgot to put my signature on the Beef Bourguignon by throwing in cranberries, which would have matched nicely with the wines. Still, the Beef Bourguignon went over quite well. The Beef Bourguignon was matched with a wonderful spinach kugel and a fresh green salad.
If you are interested in my diatribe on Cabernet Franc – it can be found here. Just a small aside, the wines here were mainly Cabernet Franc, but as always, they seem to be blended with something else. Some of the wines were blended with Merlot and are so documented. I did not know they were blended, but saw it in Rogov’s 2009 book. Otherwise, the wine notes follow below in the order they were enjoyed:
2005 Zemora Cabernet Franc – Score: B++
There are many who slam this bottle and winery, but my experience was a very pleasant and chocolaty wine. The nose on this bright garnet colored wine screams with chocolate upon opening and slowly calms down as it sits in the glass. The chocolate is complemented with nice floral fragrances, slight heat upon opening, rich plum, rich oak, and hints of vegetal aromas. The mouth on this medium to full bodied wine was rich and mouth coating with creamy oak, plum, and cranberry. The mid palate is busy with balanced acidity, and light and integrated tannins. The finish is long with chocolate, plum, sweet oak, and a touch of acidity to round out the package. This was a nice showing for the wine. I am happy I enjoyed it as there is none of this stuff in America anyway.
2005 Gush Etzion Cabernet Franc – Score: B+
The nose on this garnet colored wine was busy with blackberry, plum, chocolate, and oak. The mouth on this medium bodied wine was not very Franc like, with strong red and black fruit, and some nice oak flavors. The mid palate was braced with nice tannins and acidity, though not quite balanced. The finish is medium long with more oak, black fruit, chocolate, and a hint of vegetal flavors. Some on the table liked this more, but I think it was more Cabernet than it was franc.
2004 Ella Valley Cabernet Franc – Score: A-
This is another hit for this rock star winery that continues to impress. The nose on this dark garnet colored wine is layered with earth, raspberry, floral notes, oak, and spice. The mouth on this medium bodied wine fills out as the wine sits in the glass. Actually, the wine was awesome the next day, so air will not hurt this beast. The mouth cleaned up nicely with rich plum, raspberry, and pencil shavings. The mid palate was soft with well integrated tannins, and slight acidity to balance out the wine. The finish was busy and spicy with tobacco, rich oak, and raspberry fruit. This was a nice showing for the wine.
2005 Ella Valley Cabernet Franc (88% Cabernet Franc and 12% Merlot) – Score: A
The nose on this dark garnet colored wine was hot out of the bottle, but was soon jumping with blackberry, cranberry, raspberry, sweet oak, and a nice amount of vegetal aromas. The mouth on this medium bodied wine filled out as it got more air. The mouth on this medium bodied is layered with rich oak, cranberry, blackberry, plum, and tannins that calm down as the wine sits in the glass. The mid palate is balanced with a rich mouth, just enough acidity, and not yet integrated tannins. The finish is long and luxurious with a playful amount of spice and chocolate that is joined in by rich fruit. This was the winner of our Cabernet Franc lineup for sure, and a home run for this wonderful winery.
2006 Ella Valley Cabernet Franc (95% Cabernet Franc and 5% Merlot) – Score: A-
The nose on this garnet colored wine was hopping with dirt, tobacco, raspberry, plum, oak, and spice. The mouth on this medium to full bodied wine starts with an attack of gripping tannins, but follows with a full mouth raspberry and plum. The mid palate follows the mouth with more dirt, tobacco, oak, and tannins that are starting to balance with nice acidity. The finish is nice and long with spicy oak, tobacco, and red fruit. Once the wine had enough air, the mouth fills out and the tannins die down below a wonderful floor of rich fruit and tobacco. Another nice showing for the winery.
Four Gates Red Wine Blend (roughly 50/50) – Score: A
The nose on this dark garnet to black colored wine is hopping with sweet oak, rich plum, raspberry, vegetal aromas, tobacco, and bit of dark chocolate. The mouth on this full bodied wine is layered and complex with Chicken Cherry Cola, dark plum, and sweet oak. The mid palate flows from the mouth with more fruit, bright acidity, oak, and vegetal notes. The finish is long with dark chocolate, tobacco, and more fruit. Quite a nice wine that lingers long in your mouth after the wine is gone.
Posted on June 19, 2009, in Food and drink, Kosher Red Wine, Wine and tagged Cabernet Franc, Ella Valley Winery, Four Gates Winery, Gush Etzion Winery, Zemora Winery. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.