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Cabernet is King – But please, try the “other” one

Posted on 1st March 2018 by JN Wine

Cabernet is King – But please, try the “other” one

Cabernet Sauvignon; king of wine grapes. Core foundation of Bordeaux’s greatest estates, the main contributor to the great cult wines of California’s Napa Valley and of major importance to the “Super Tuscans” of Bolgheri on Italy’s Etruscan coast. We all love Cabernet Sauvignon; it is to wine what Frank Sinatra is to music; timeless, full of charm and always worth revisiting. Despite its fame, Cabernet Sauvignon is somewhat of a “young upstart” of a grape, a crossing of Sauvignon Blanc and Cabernet Franc that occurred at some point in the 17th Century. While Sauvignon Blanc continued to thrive and still retains its popularity today, Cabernet Franc fell somewhat into obscurity, mostly making appearances as a small percentage in Bordeaux Blends, or the rustic reds of the Loire valley. But thanks to a group of young, forward thinking group of winemakers, Cabernet Franc is making a comeback and is challenging its young usurper for the fashionable top spot!

We have really seen an increase in interest is some of the lesser known regions and grape varieties in the shop at JN and Cabernet Franc is most definitely at the top of that list, especially since the arrival of the  “Les Dissidents” cuvées Paul and Patience, both 100% Cabernet Franc.

Paul is all about tenderness. Tenderness in the terroir where the vine grows, the tenderness of the cooked earth which forms the amphorae where the wines age, while the Patience is resolutely militant, and just a little bit of an anarchist, aged in 2,000-litre cask. While the Paul is approachable now, with its purity of fruit, fresh acidity and supple tannins, the Patience requires a bit of… patience (naturally). As you would expect, this wine will require some time in the cellar, or a spell in a decanter before drinking, in order to let the true Cabernet Franc character shine through.

With both cuvees, you should be expecting a fruity palate of blue and black berries, a touch of cracked black pepper, hints of spicy and sweet herbs, green pepper and, in the case of the Patience, a luscious oaky note, which provides texture and richness. Both of these wines will pair well with red meats. We think the Paul will be exceptional with Lamb or BBQ dishes, such as sausage or a gourmet burger, while the Patience definitely has the structure for heartier fare; classic bistro steak frites would be the perfect match, perhaps with a grilled pepper side salad to compliment the notes in the wine.

For someone looking for a more traditional style, look to the Loire Valley, famous for its Sancerre Sauvignon Blanc. Chateau du Hureau Saumur-Champigny Tuffe 2015 has scents of wild flowers and thyme. Sweet mulberry fruit, a flavoursome palate and a lingering finish. Deeply coloured yet almost without tannin this is a soft, sumptuous and thoroughly enjoyable wine that has enough depth of character to suit more serious wine drinkers yet a delightful lack of pretention that will please one and all!


For those of us who prefer a more “New World” style, look no further than Domaine Gayda Figure Libre Freestyle Cabernet Franc 2016. Opaque, perfumed with fragrant black cherry, cassis and spice. Full bodied, intense with countless layers of flavour including blackcurrant, cedar and graphite. Dense fruit on the palate is bound by a structure of fine grained tannins and a lively acidity. This wine shows great depth and character and yet is refined with a long, elegant finish.

By all means, continue to buy and enjoy the great Cab Sauvs of the world, but please, we implore you, try the “other” Cab. We promise you won’t be disappointed – we definitely haven’t been.

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