One of the things that makes local Cabernet Franc such an exciting category is the diversity you can find. Some will taste oakier than others — be it raw wood flavor or oak-born qualities like vanilla and roasted nuts.
Depending on when the grapes were picked, Cabernet Franc can taste extremely vegetal (in a bad way) or gentle herbal and savory (in a good way). Sometimes you won’t pick up on that “green” edge at all, which is good because not everyone finds it appealing. In terms of structure, local Cabernet Franc can be silky and smooth or a bit more rustic.
This week’s wine of the week, Bedell Cellars 2015 Cabernet Franc ($45) was aged entirely in neutral oak. I lean toward the silkier style — almost in a Pinot Noirish way.
Aromas of crushed raspberries and cherries mingle with those of purple flowers, cocoa powder and a meaty, savoriness.
Elegant and medium-light bodied — with moderate alcohol at 12% — the palate is driven by intense, but not jammy, red cherry flavors with more of that meaty, saline minerality and some dark chocolate-covered raspberry that really emerges on the second and third day the bottle is open. There is some tannic grip here, but it’s well integrated and smooth at the edges.
Winemaker Rich Olsen-Harbich has long made fresh, low-to-no-oak styles of Cabernet Franc on the North Fork. This is a great example from a top producer from a good year.
It’s available for $45 in Bedell’s tasting room.