2011 Shelton Vineyards Cabernet Franc

It’s been some time since I last had a Cabernet Franc, and it’s not a grape to which I typically gravitate when I’m out hunting for fun new wine. This is not for any special reason other that I tend to drift more frequently toward Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinot Noir, and thus was a fun treat to encounter this red blend courtesy of my wife.

2011 Shelton Vineyards Cabernet Franc

2011 Shelton Vineyards Cabernet Franc, Yadkin Valley, North Carolina, USA.

Grown in the Yadkin Valley of North Carolina is this 2011 Shelton Vineyards Cabernet Franc, a Bordeaux-style blended with 10% Cabernet Sauvignon. The vineyard has approximately 136,000 vines (spanning 145 miles) growing 10 different varieties of grapes, and they employ no-till farming techniques to help reduce erosion. That’s not to say all this green emphasis diminishes the outcome; to the contrary I thought the 2011 had muscle in all the right places.

We enjoyed this Cab Franc over several nights and with different meals that included sushi as well as ground beef. The wine dressed up our meals with its fresh, red fruity scents and little bit of pepper that is honestly quite endearing. Of the 2011 vintage, the folks at Shelton remark, “The finish on this wine has essence of woodland cedar and some smoke to complement rich grilled salmon, chicken or barbeque.” Some nice tannins deliver a lasting finish, too. In hindsight, I think this bottle received our “middle of the work week” treatment when it had all the merits for a weekend glass or two.

It’s my understanding that our local grocery store had the 2011 readily in stock and I’m interested in securing another couple of these for the fall.

2009 Four Chimneys New Earth

This Cabernet Franc didn’t age long in our possession at all–we bought this bottle just about a week ago while tasting along the western shore of Seneca Lake in central New York.  Four Chimneys, an organic winery that takes care to ensure no synthetics or pesticides are introduced to their grapes, conducts their tastings from a simple barn that overlooks this one of the Finger Lakes.

2009 Four Chimneys New Earth Cabernet Franc, Seneca Lake, NY, USA.

2009 Four Chimneys New Earth Cabernet Franc, Seneca Lake, NY, USA.

Several of their sweeter wines missed the mark for me, but the New Earth was on target and I left carrying one.  This was despite its lame label, which makes me sound like a wine snob but I was really just underwhelmed by the designer on this one (other Four Chimney wines have labels with better personality, execution, or both).  At the time I thought New Earth had an oaky, spicy finish but that was less pronounced when we uncorked here at home.  It is light, more Pinot in color than Cab, and tastes similarly–light.  Nice smell…and the winemaker says “A very fine organic vinifera – full fruit, herbs and violets, richer tannins, and integrated oak.”

As depicted here, our New Earth accompanied a pasta-chicken-feta cheese dish on the first night it was open.  You might think a white better suited; I can tell you the Earth doesn’t overpower and was fine.  I had it again last night with some tacos, and it really did well mixed with the spices.  Tonight I even had enough left for a last glass after work.

I got my fix here–a mild red, and good memories of a fun family weekend in the Finger Lakes–but I’m sated for now and ready for something else next time.