I confess to being a closet Cabernet Franc fan. Living in the shadow of its big, brash, ostentatious and sharp-as-a nail son, Cabernet Sauvignon, the lighter-bodied Cab. Franc with its understated elegance and smooth sophistication just tends to get left there on the shelf, the “also ran” of the wine world. Think Fred Astaire versus Arnold Schwarzenegger. If you haven’t yet checked out this variety, Maquis Cabernet Franc 2012 could be a good one to try.
Tasting note: Maquis Cabernet Franc 2012, Colchagua Valley, 13.5% ABV
This wine makes more than a passing nod to those who like their wines on the beefier side, with more colour and body than than many other Cabernet Franc wines – no doubt helped along by the dollop of Carmenère in the blend. This is a characterful wine with plenty going on aroma-wise: red and black fruit (think cranberries, black cherries and plums), an intriguing herbal note like fennel and bay, a touch of vanilla and a liquorice note. This is a dry wine with plenty of ripe and well-integrated tannins and sufficient acidity and body to make it feel fresh and velvety in the mouth. The ripe black fruit and spice come through in the flavours. The finish is medium.
This wine held its own with spaghetti with a Ragu sauce, so would be fine for any well-flavoured dish, like vegetable stew, cassoulet or slow-roasted beef.
This wine consists of 85% Cabernet Franc and 15% Carmenère grapes. The grapes were macerated for five days before fermentation and the wine was left a while longer with the skins after fermentation. This is so the skins had lots of time to transfer colour, aromas and tannins to the wine. The wine was aged for 10 months, 80% of it in used oak barrels, so as to make the tannins and body more rounded without adding too many aromas or flavours from the oak (such as toast or vanilla).
Where you can buy Maquis Cabernet Franc
In Chile, Maquis wines are stocked in major stores like Jumbo. In the United States, their wines are distributed through Global Vineyard. For other countries, contact the winery.