Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Washington Cab Franc. v. France

This is it.  The start of leTour, the Grand Boucle, the Tour "Day" France...  The route starts in North West France and then goes South through the Loire Valley in the first week.  Here are a couple of introductions to the Tour - one from an insider and one from a self professed Bike Snob.

The Lucha Vino tour challenge begins with a Cabernet Franc matchup featuring one of my recent Luchador discoveries from Lake Chelan battling the French Luchador from the Loire Valley.

2008 Tildio Cab Franc v. 2008 Domaine de l'Aumonier "Les Arpents" sous bois (Touraine)

Tale of the tape

2008 Tildio Cab Franc

100% Cabernet Franc sourced from the Columbia Valley.  I believe this is estate grown fruit from the Tildio vineyard in the Lake Chelan AVA and was aged in French Oak barrels.  The details are not available on the Tildio website so I am going from memory (which is a bit impaired after my Luchador Training Camp a couple of weeks ago).
Purchased at the winery.

2008 Domaine de l'Aumonier "Les Arpents" sous bois (Touraine)Most of the winery's website is translated to english, the page with the details on this Luchador is only available in French.  100% Cabernet Franc barrel aged for 10 - 12 months.
Purchased for $14.82 from Garagiste.

The details are light for both combatants.  That means neither one of these Luchadors was able to do any pre-match preparation.  Kind of like riding a stage of the Tour de France without a route profile, or a Directeur Sportif yelling in your ear via radio.  Time to stick your nose in the wind and go for it.  The winner will truly be determined in the ring.  Game on!

Round 1.  First Opening:

On first opening the Tildio has a nose of dark red fruit, cocoa, coffee, spice and some barnyard funk.  The palate has loads of spice on dark fruit, black cherry and pepper at the backend of the palate and moving on to the finish.

The Les Arpents has a nose of peat bog, red fruit, light spice with strange hints of grapefruit and herbal green pepper at the end.  The palate is dominated by the sour grapefruit citrus character on top of some cedar tannins, red berries and a very tart finish.

The Tildio stepped into the ring and promptly flattened the French opponent.  Round 1 clearly goes to Tildio and the training staff is vigorously working on reviving Les Arpents.

Round 2.  One hour after Opening

The Tildio is gaining momentum, full of confidence after dominating round 1.  The nose is showing dark stone fruit, toffee and spice all wrapped in smoke. The palate is dark cherry, leather, semi sweet chocolate trailing into a spicy cedar finish.

Les Arpents was able to get up off the canvas and return for round 2...  barely.  The nose has evolved to show notes of sour currants, leather and a bit of spice.  The palate is also showing notes of sour red huckleberries with a tart cedar finish.  At least the green pepper and grapefruit appear to have been pounded out in the first round. 

Round 2 goes to Tildio, which does not seem to mind kicking sand in the face of the diminished French Luchador. 

Round 3. One day later

The Tildio is going strong.  The nose is big and full of black cherry, toffee and cinnamon.  The palate is even more in your face with dark currants, spicy white pepper and a mammoth finish of coffee bean, semi sweet chocolate and cinnamon.

After a good night's rest Les Arpents is back with a nose reminiscent of underbrush, dried leaves light red berries and a bit of pepper.  The palate is more of the same with the grapefruit notes making a return visit.  The finish is tart tannic cedar. 

I give credit to Les Arpents for returning to the ring, but this match was not even close.  The Tildio was a bruising, swaggering bully from the opening bell with a relentless attack leaving Les Arpents little opportunity to fight back.

Tildio takes this one 3 - nil.

Wrap up and over all observations

The Washington Cabernet Franc was much bigger and bolder than the Loire Valley counterpart.  It was really interesting to taste the difference between these two wines.  The style was dramatically different (like comparing B. A. Baracus to Urkel). I would not have recognized these as being the same varietal if I was tasting them blind.

I give the Tildio a solid 89 and the Les Arpents an 84.

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