The Winos jumped on the WBW bandwagon this week, and per the G-man’s instructions, we sought ourselves out a bottle of Cabernet Franc from France. The majority of our experience with Cab Franc has been: 1) in its capacity as a blending grape, when tasting various bottles of Bordeaux and Meritage, 2) drinking that unusual bottle of New York Cab Franc that Jessica brought on Old World varietals in the New World day, and 3) watching that scene in Sideways where Miles says he doesn’t like it.
Jason found us a bottle of 2005 Domaine de Noiré “Elegance” from the Chinon region of France’s Loire Valley. Loire is known mostly for whites (such as the racy little numbers from Vouvray, Pouilly-Fumé and Muscadet), but some solid Cab Franc is allegedly grown in the Touraine area, so we were excited about this one.
I’ve been hearing a lot about this “green bell peppers” thing, but I was not prepared for how pronounced that particular note would be on the nose. Huge. Straight bell peppers, no kidding. I wasn’t alone in thinking this, although it must be said that everyone had their own interpretation of the “green bell peppers” theme. To me, it was like the smell of a peppers and mushrooms pizza… the peppers are still pretty fresh and crisp, but the hot cheese has started withering them a little bit. To everyone else, it was raw bell peppers, and this difference of opinion led to a five-minute argument on the olfactory distinctions between “roasted” green peppers, “peppers and onions” (as served on a Philly cheesesteak), and “pizza cooked” peppers. Long story short, the bouquet smelled like bell peppers of varying methods of preparation. Jason also got olives, and Jordan picked up general green salad notes; definitely one of the more vegetal reds we’ve ever smelled, but apparently that’s to be expected. Andrew got dark berries, and Jessica called blackberries.
The palate, though, didn’t deliver those fruity notes, and instead reverted back to the peppers. Jordan thought it tasted like “pizza grease.” Jessica said it was like “chewing on grape seeds and stems.” Andrew got tannins, but didn’t care for them because the body was too light. At one point, Jessica asked “do you guys taste the bitterness on the end?” to which Andrew replied, “I taste the crappiness all the way through.” A conspicuous lack of dissent following this comment silenced further debate.
Overall, not a big winner, especially not for the $22 sticker price. Jason thought it was “mediocre,” the most generous description of the evening… but with so many other WBW participants apparently really enjoying their $10 or $12 Cab Francs today, the Winos are left wondering where we went wrong.
Andrew distracts us from the unpleasantness with a funny e-mail; trying to think of clever tasting notes that will make us popular; still wondering what we did to deserve this.
The Young Winos of LA — we taste the shitty wine so you don’t have to.