It’s braise and stew season now, and for me that means drinking red wines that can not only stand up to hearty flavors, but also feature savory edges and enough structure to cut through some of that richness.
This week’s Wine of the Week, McCall 2014 North Ridge Vineyard Cabernet Franc Reserve ($26) fits the bill nicely. It’s made from fruit grown in an old Gristina vineyard planted more than 30 years ago, which are some of the oldest cabernet franc vines on the North Fork.
The nose is earthy — smelling distinctly of damp soil — with additional notes of coffee grounds and vanilla layered over fresh-crushed blackberry and black cherry fruit aromas. Medium bodied and dominated by similar fruit-and-earth characteristics, the palate is gently rustic in its tannic structure with some drying tannins on the coffee-tinged finish. At the table, particularly with those braises or stews, that structure will come in handy, elevating both food and wine — which is what wine pairing is supposed to be about.
And, at $26, it’s a nice value in the sub-$30 category. Find it at the winery’s Cutchogue tasting room.