The pros are fine tuning their form for the Tour de France over the next two weeks. To prepare for combat with the French in July I headed to Lake Chelan for some Luchador try outs.
Here are some of my notes from the wineries I visited. All of these wineries offered a Cabernet Franc. What an unexpected, and welcome, surprise! Each had their unique style and one place, The Blending Room offered up a Cab Franc Tag Team.
Hard Row to Hoe
This winery is run by Don and Judy Phelps. They are great people and if you get the chance to stop in make sure you get the back story on the winery name from Don. And check out the wall paper! It is just as naughty as the rest of the story.
Don't let the name fool you, there is some serious wine making going on here. My favorite of the day was the Burning Desire 2008 Estate Cabernet Franc. The nose shows character of dark berries, clove, menthol and spice with a similar bold palate and a nice tart cedar spicebox finish.
The Luchadors training at Hard Row to Hoe are bold, hot and sassy.
Just down the road is Tildio, another husband and wife operation with Milum and Katy Perry. Milum is a bike enthusiast so he scores points with Lucha Vino before ever even tasting the wines. There is more great wine being turned out at Tildio and my top Luchador on this day was their 2008 Estate Grown Cabernet Franc. This wine is big and powerful. The nose is showing earth, oak, spice and white pepper with an equally smashing palate that includes notes of caramel and a dry spicy and pepper finish.
Katy called this Cab Franc "gnarly." I would have to agree, this Luchador is going to do some damage.
Next stop was The Blending Room in the heart of Downtown Manson.
They have some great wines and take some inspiration from The Rat City Roller Girls. Now, there is a team that is after Lucha Vino's heart. The next best thing to Lucha Libre is Roller Derby!
The Blending Room offers up two Cab Francs. The first is on their My Derby Wife label and the second is on their Kamari Black Label. Both are great examples of Cab Franc, big and bold and ready to put the sleeper hold on any unsuspecting protaganists.
The 2008 Kamari Black Label was the main event in this tag team pairing, it showed character of dark fruits, earth, mushroom, forrest floor and cocoa on the nose and palate with a dry semi sweet chocolate finish.
The final stop of the day was at Vin du Lac and the place was hopping. It could have been the live music or the sunshine or well, the wine! Here is another Chelan winery offering a Cab Franc and it certainly delivered the goods.
The 2007 Barrel Select Cabernet Franc had lots of show and packed plenty of punch to backup the flash. This wine shouts out "Boom! Here I am. Now who's next?" Showing lots of rich currant, raspberry and hints of espresso on the nose with a similar palate and a finish that includes cedar spice box, cocoa and some hints of clove.
Look out France. These Chelan AVA wineries are gunning for you. I have a feeling that these Cab Franc Luchadors are going to stomp all over the French challengers next month. Be sure to check back in July to see how the main events go down.