Thursday, July 5, 2012

Washington Cabernet Franc v. Bordeaux

This Saturday was the Grand Depart for the Tour de France.  This year starts with the traditional prologue, a short intense individual time trial.  Many people call the time trial the "race of truth."  It is the rider versus the clock with nowhere to hide.  Your result is all on you, no help from your teammates, no hiding in the peleton out of the wind waiting to pounce at the last moment.  It is you, and only you, against the sands of time.

The racing begins in Belgium this year and does not land on French roads until Stage 3 on Tuesday.  The Lucha Vino challenge will feature a Cab Franc battle while we wait for the riders to hit France.  Cabernet Franc is a great compliment to the short, intense, all out effort that will be required to win the prologue in Liege.

2008 Hard Row to Hoe Burning Desire Cabernet Franc v. 2010 Ch. Le Pre de La Lande Grand Vin

Tale of the Tape

2008 Hard Row to Hoe Burning Desire Cabernet Franc

100% Cabernet Franc from the Hard Row to Hoe Estate Vineyard in the Lake Chelan AVA
18 months: 50% new American Oak
Purchased at the winery for $44.99

2010 Ch. Le Pre de La Lande Grand Vin

Bordeaux blend featuring Cabernet Franc
Details are sketchy and this Luchador is under investigation
Purchased from Garagiste for $12.93

Round 1. First Opening

The Hard Row Burning Desire is living up to its name burning down the house right from the opening bell.  The nose features cherries, oats and all spice.  The palate is big and bold with black cherry and cloves with toffee & semi-sweet cocoa on the finish.

The Pre La Lande doesn't know if it should hide or run away.  Either way this French Luchador is clearly not ready for what just smacked it in the face!  The nose is earthy sour pie cherries.  The palate is showing tart cherries and a weird chemical tart chlorine finish.

Hard Row body slams the Pre La Lande taking round one and sending a signal that this match could be extremely one sided.

Round 2. One hour after opening

The Burning Desire continues the all out domination in round two showing no mercy with a variety of powerful moves.  The nose is showing dark fruit, light licorice and asian spices.  The palate continues to build with dark cherry, toffee and coffee bean with a tart lightly spicy finish that includes some cofee bean notes.

Pre La Lande is running for cover as the pain is raining down.  This French Luchador is showing some spunk, but is it enough to battle the Burning Desire?  The nose has bulked up with notes of dark fruit and smoky roasted meats.  The palate is darker, but still tight and tart with pie cherries and a dry cherry bark finish.  

Score another round for the Burning Desire.  The crowd is questioning the Pre La Lande's credentials.  So far, the French Challenger has not shown much to suggest it is grappling in the same class as the Burning Desire.

Round 3. One day after opening

Get down with your bad self.  The Burning Desire takes the advice and unleashes a massive Mongolian Chop to the shoulders of Pre La Lande.  The nose and palate are both continuing to build some massive power.  The nose is showing dark currants, licorice and dusty cedar spices.  The palate is even darker with currant, black cherry, clove, all spice and semi sweet chocolate with toffee and tart coffee bean on the finish.

The Pre La Lande never had a chance from the beginning.  So why should the third round be any different?  Right.  The nose has some character of juicy cherries and earth.  The palate is tart cedar and cherries with a very dry finish.

Score this a massive 3-0 victory for the Burning Desire from Hard Row to Hoe.

Wrap up and overall observations

My cellar was lacking any French Cabernet Francs that had not already appeared in a match.  That sent me on a scouting expedition in Bordeaux to seek out a Luchador that included Cab Franc in the blend.  According to Garagiste the 2010 Pre la Lande is supposed to include Cab Franc along with Merlot in the mix.  I was not able to find any detailed blending details and my experience leaves my skeptical about any amount of Cab Franc being included.

The Hard Row Burning Desire was big, bold and sassy leaving no doubt that it is a Cab Franc to be reckoned with now and in the future.

I give the Burning Desire an 89 and the Pre La Lande an incomplete.  I will check back on this French contestant after another year of relaxing in the cellar.

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