I get excited about wine. I get very excited about Cabernet Franc. I got extremely excited last Christmas when I was able to get my hands on a bottle of Roanoke Vineyards 2006 Gabby’s Cabernet Franc — it was part of a holiday gift box that also included the 2006 Merlot and the 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon from Roanoke Vineyards.
At the time my wife was pregnant and she was strict about drinking wine. She begged of me to wait until the baby came to open this bottle. So I waited, and waited till he was born. When Gabriel was born and I could not wait to pop that cork and get to know this much heralded wine. I waited for the right moment, the right meal, the right occasion — That occasion came when Scott Sandell, of Roanoke (he designs the labels on the bottles) offered me a sample bottle of Gabby’s 2007 Cabernet Franc to review here on my blog. I now thought that this was perfect; I could taste both Cabernet Franc’s, along with my wife, side by side and note the differences and similarities. I am glad I did.
The tastings lasted over the corse of five days. Most wine never lasts more than 3 days on my table and I am happy to say that both wines were still showing on the 5th day. Today this is part one, the study of the 2006 Gabby’s Franc. This is sold out and when it was available it sold for $38 per bottle. There was 148 cases produced and it is a blend of 92% Cabernet Franc and 8% Merlot.
When I opened up this bottle, you can see a good amount of sedimentation on the cork. This may scare some folk, but fear not, it is not bad. It is a sign of a wine being unfiltered — it’s not a bad thing at all, just something for you to get used to. I have and in fact I like seeing a little sedimentation on the cork.
On the nose it was bursting with ripe cherry –both bing and dark black cherry. There was a hint of currant and strawberry with some menthol eucalyptus. Elements of mushroom came through as well. Dried herb and earthy woodsy leaves were showing with a hint of vanilla and freshly ground espresso.
The taste brought some more dark cherry and dark coca powder with a smidge of vanilla and black pepper. There was elements of currant and exotic spice. The acidity was vibrant and it carried very well with some velvety smooth tannins. Some roasted jalapeño seemed to appear in the glass after a while of swirling.
The finish was long with a toasty vanilla, ripe cherry dried herb and ground espresso carried the wine in the end.
On day two a floral note appeared with hints of cherry and blackberry. More concentrated than the first day with a hint of fresh bay leaf. The taste was spicier and showed more earthy forest floor notes.
Day three was more about the earth. Earth on the palate and on the nose were dominant. There was a sprinkling of concentrated cherry and plum and dried cranberry. The tannins were still showing well and the acidity was still carrying this wine. There were more notes of espresso and vanilla on the finish with a hint baking spices like nutmeg, anise and cinnamon. This was my favorite day of this wine, next to the first day.
By day four you would think that maybe this wine was done. I thought it would have been more spice and earth. But to my surprise, there was fruit in my glass. Plum and blackberry seemed to dominate with a smoky note. There was some blackberry compte flavors on the palate. With some exotic spice.
On the fifth day the fruit was gone. Notes of cedar and dried leaves with some dried herb and spice. There was more heat to the wine on the fifth day, acidity seemed to be gone and tannins as well.
It is sad to know that this wine is sold out. I would have loved to have picked up more of this wine and to taste over the years. If you have some, it is one to hold onto and try years from now. If it is ever offered in the future from Roanoke, I strongly urge you to pick up some and keep for years to come. I know I will.
Later this week I will review of the soon to be released 2007 Gabby’s Franc and story about how Gabby’s Franc became Gabby’s Franc.