This past weekend I finally got around to something I have been planning for sometime, which was my Cabernet Franc Horizontal. To be fair, it was more like two horizontals, one for 2006 and one for 2007, along with a 2005 wine thrown in. So I guess I am using the term liberally, but hey, this is my blog! Anyway, the wines were quite lovely, with the only real loser being an a fore mentioned wine that was previously in a dumb period, and now I think it is just going down hill, that being the 2007 Hagafen Cabernet Franc. My deep love for all things Franc is clear and documented here.
That said, though the wines were great to exceptional, none of them exhibited anything Franc’ish. I say this because, there was almost no vegetal notes (even from Four gates), and little to no floral notes or even floral perfumes. Instead, what we had was deep and expressive wines that were nice, but more Cab’ish than Franc’ish. The common notes were, Oak/Cedar, Chocolate, Tobacco, and red fruit. There were a couple of wines with black fruit and rich flavors as well.
This past weekend saw us under the weather and so we cooked up a lovely and helpful pot of chicken soup, along with our standby dinner of lemon rosemary roasted chicken, some really nice white and red quinoa, along with some fresh green salad. The chicken soup was really great and truly hit the spot. The weather out here in Northern California has been acting really strange and is starting to feel a lot like last year, cold and wet. There are is some solar heat and some sunny days, but a lot more cold days and wet days ahead, is what it feels like.
The chicken soup was what we all needed and because we threw it together last-minute we improvised slightly to make the pot. We added red wine to the soup and we threw in some chicken soup powder. Yeah, it was a shortcut, but in the end chicken is what counts and when it comes to the fowl department, we handled that just fine by throwing in a bunch of winged and neck material, along with most of the recipe’s vegetables.
For a wine we chose a lovely bottle of red wine, yes red wine! I know red wine is sometimes considered a faux pax in many people’s eyes when pairing with chicken soup and roasted chicken, but I liked it just fine. The rich and lemony flavors of the roasted chicken went fine with the medium to full-bodied wine and I really did not drink that much with the chicken soup, as all I wanted then was warm liquid. Once we finished the two rounds of soup we moved on to the dish of lemon rosemary roasted chicken, white and red quinoa, and fresh green salad.
The wine started off so closed it almost tasted flat and hollow. However, with more air the wine opened and showed its true colors. To be honest it takes a real pro to be able to realize the difference between a poor wine, a closed wine, and a dud. Folks who go to wine tastings, wineries, etc. where they pop open a bottle and pour a glass and expect to perceive all that a wine has to give, are fooling themselves. That is why I love wine tastings to pick out the wines I want to try again in a more controlled setting where I can open the bottle and watch it change in the glass. Also, this wine is a blended wine of two or three varietals, of which I do not actually know. It tasted a fair bit like Cabernet Sauvignon but then added in a fair bit of tar, vanilla, and spice, making me wonder if there is some Syrah in there as well. The wine is mevushal and is another very solid hit from the ever consistent winery in Napa Valley.
The wine note follows below:
2008 Hagafen Crescendo Don Ernesto – Score: B++ to A-
The nose on this dark garnet to black colored wine is closed as tight as a tin can to start, but with time the wine shows its special characteristics that bob and weave in the same rhythm as the varietals open and show their stuff. The wine is a blend of two or more red varietals, one that I think is Cabernet and one that felt like Syrah or Petite Verdot, but I could not be for sure. The nose starts with a very Cabernet style, including blackberry, blackcurrant, chocolate, rich oak, black cherry, raspberry, plum, licorice, pencil shavings, and spice. Over time the nose starts to show off more tar and vanilla. The mouth on this wine starts off very closed end the finish is very short and surprising. Once again, this one shows what my dear friend and wine maker – Craig Winchell told me many times, the only fact that a wine cannot lie about is its weight. Everything else can either be sleeping or closed or hiding away until the wine awakes or comes out of hiding. This wine is no different, it starts off very closed with a nice medium to full weight, but with about everything else fully hidden. Over time it opens with a rich and velvety almost plush mouth with tannins that start off closed and open slowly more and more, along with rich oak, blackcurrant, blackberry, black cherry, plum, raspberry, and lovely tannin. With even more time the wine shifts to show tar and more plum. The mid palate is balanced with nice acid, chocolate, tannin, and rich oak. The finish starts off short, but over time it becomes long and rich with rich oak, nice tannin, acid, blackberry, chocolate, tobacco, plum, and a dollop of spice and vanilla. This is quite a lovely wine that needs time to open and one that demands your attention as it evolves and changes in the glass and the day.