Saturday, July 16, 2016

Washington Cabernet Franc v. Loire Valley

The Tour de France is in full swing!  The race started in the far Northwest of France and headed straight South in the first week.  The racers faced challenges from wind, mountains and themselves while battling for position in the sprint stages.

So far, this year's Grande Boucle has seen a little bit of everything and it is not even half way over!  The only predictable thing is that Chris Froome is, once again, wearing the race leader's yellow jersey.

In the first week of racing the peloton passed through the Loire Valley with stage four starting in Saumur.  This was the longest stage of the race so hopefully the team directors allowed their racers to enjoy a glass of Cabernet Franc with their dinner the night before!

This week's Lucha Vino matchup features a Washington Cabernet Franc taking on a French challenger from Chinon.

Kaella 2012 Cabernet Franc v. Saget la Perriere Marie de Beauregard 2014 Chinon

Tale of the Tape

 Kaella 2012 Cabernet Franc

95% Cabernet Franc from the Connor Lee Vineyard and
5% Cabernet Sauvignon from the Ambassador Vineyard

Provided as a sample by the winery.  Available at retail for $35

2014 Marie de Beauregard Chinon

100% Cabernet Franc from the Chinon AOC in the Loire Valley.

Purchased for $24.99 at Esquine.

Round 1.  First opening

This matchup is clearly going to be one of contrasting styles.  The Kaila Cab Franc is flashing bold confidence and aggression as it enters the ring.  While the Marie de Beauregard is taking more of a defensive posture using its speed and agility to confound the Washington State Luchador.

Kaella is showing a nose of dark currants with subtle herbal notes and a hint of musty forest floor.  The palate features dark rich berries, currants and coffee bean with some herbal notes lurking in the background.  The finish is slightly dry with flavors of herbal cocoa bean.

The Chinon Challenger is counter attacking with a nose of dark musty berries, sawdust and some funky brambles and underbrush.  The palate is showing dark herbal berries and tart underbrush with a slightly metallic tart tannin driven finish.

The judges award Kaella's aggressive style with the points for round one.

Round 2.  One hour after opening

The Kaella Conqueror is building on its bold attacking style with a nose of round dark berries with cocoa and coffee bean undertones.  The palate doubles down with dark lush berries and light herbal tones followed by a fine grained tannin finish that includes notes of menthol and cocoa powder.

The Chinon Challenger launches a drop kick, taking the bigger Washington State Luchador by surprise.  The Loire Valley Cab Franc is opening up with a nose of tart raspberries and herbal underbrush.  The palate repeats the tart raspberry character along with dry herbal notes that lead to a tart herbal finish.

Marie de Beauregard takes round 2 to even up the match at 1 point a piece.

Round 3.  One day after opening

The match all comes down to this final round.  Will the power or the finesse prevail?  Let's find out!

Kaella is showing stamina, continuing to evolve its style, with a nose of dark cherries, currants, light green pepper herbalness and a hint of menthol.  The palate shows more dark cherry along with menthol spices and dried flowers that round out with a slightly tart coca bean finish.

The Chinon Challenger is maintaining its counter attacking style with a nose of tart herbal dusty berries.  The palate is slightly tart with herbal red berries and rhubarb that wraps up with a tart herbal finish that is slightly sweet.

The battle was tight and in the end the Kaella Cab Franc conquered the Chinon Challenger with a bolder attacking style.

Wrap Up and Overall Observations

Both of these wines were very enjoyable.  The Kaella has more age on it and that definitely showed through in the competition.  The rounder, darker flavors also reflect the characteristics of the Connor Lee Vineyard located just outside Othello in the Columbia Valley AVA.

The Marie de Beauregard is a bit young and is a good representation of Loire Valley Cabernet Franc.  The herbal character and light tannins make this a good meal time partner.

I would recommend both of these wines.

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