Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Washington Cab Franc v. Loire Valley

Paris-Nice is an early season stage races that tests Tour de France contenders.  This race is also known as the Race to the Sun since it starts in Paris and traces a route South East to Nice, finishing on the Mediterranean Sea.  At this time of year the weather is usually cold during the early stages of the race and the riders are eager to finish in Nice where they can anticipate nicer conditions. 

The second and third stages of the race passed through the Eastern reaches of the Loire Valley.  That is enough of a reason for Lucha Vino to feature a clash of Cabernet Francs.  This week features a Bartholomew Cabernet Franc v. a Cab Franc from The Loire.

2008 Bartholomew Cabernet Franc v. 2010 La Grange aux Belles Anjou 

Tale of the Tape

2008 Bartholomew Cabernet Franc

100% Cabernet Franc sourced from the Coyote Canyon vineyard located in the Horse Heaven Hills AVA.

Production was two barrels - one second use and one neutral.

Purchased from the winery for $28.

2010 La Grange aux Belles Anjou Rouge 53

This French challenger is a bit of a mystery.  Garagiste says it is 100% Cab Franc.  Some other clues suggest it is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc.  Regardless, this fresh upstart Luchador isn't giving away very many secrets.

One thing we know for sure, this Luchador is from the Loire Valley.

Purchased from Garagiste for $16.84.

Round 1.  First Opening

Bartholomew is stomping on would be contenders and stomping into the ring with a nose of dark fruit, coffee, herbs and dusty underbrush.  The palate is dark fruit, spicy clove and hints of cocoa that linger on to the finish.

La Grange aux Belles is reminiscent of a classic ZZ Top tune singing the praises of border town girls.  This Luchador is interesting, but not in the way that Bill Gibbons made those Texas girls sound.  The nose has character of creamy currants, mineral and woodsy dry underbrush.  The palate shows medium red notes of cranberry and woody brambles with a dry finish.

These Luchadors are showing very different styles facing off in the Lucha Vino ring of doom.  In the ring of doom you need to be big and burly and in this round the Bartholomew is living up to the billing.  Round one goes to Bartholomew, our Washington State Cab Franc luchador.

Round 2.  One hour after Opening

Bartholomew is gaining power boasting a nose of dark currant, black cherry, menthol and cocoa.  The palate is also up to the challenge with notes of black cherry, clove spices and cola with a cedar spiced finish that ends with semisweet chocolate.

La Grange is getting more eccentric with a nose of creamy vinegar, cranberry and brambles with a palate that is also showing cranberry along with notes of tobacco and a tart cedar finish.

Eccentricity can be enticing when you are visiting the border town ladies, but not when you are trying to deal pain in the wrestling ring.  Round two goes to Bartholomew.

Round 3. One day after Opening

About the only shot that La Grange has is to angle for a knock out.

Bartholomew has already shown some significant strength through the first two rounds.  Round three leaves no doubt.  The nose is showing currant, floral earthy notes along with some chalkiness.  The palate is also showing currant, black cherry and clove with cocoa that finishes with semi sweet chocolate.

La Grange has a nose of cranberry and earthy brambles.  The palate is also showing cranberry tartness and tobacco with a tart cedar dry finish that has the tobacco coming back again at the end.

Bartholomew continued building muscle mass through all three rounds while La Grange slid from interesting to eccentric to flat out crazy perhaps the result of too many head blows delivered by Bartholomew the Bruiser.

Bartholomew takes round three and the match 3 - 0.

Wrap up and over all observations

These were two very different styles of Cab Franc.  The Loire Valley Cat Franc was full of earthiness, herbal notes and underbrush.  These characteristics held on over the course of the entire bout.  I'm going to leave my other bottle in the cellar for a couple years to see if this crazy Luchador will stop bounding off the walls of its padded cell.

The Washington Cab Franc was big and bruising the herbal notes along with some brambly notes were present but subdued.  The dominant characteristic of dark fruit, clove spices and semi-sweet chocolate carried this luchador over the top inflicting serious damage like a flying body slam off the top rope.

I give the Bartholomew a solid 88 and La Grange an 85.

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