Monday, June 08, 2009

Cabernet Franc from Italy's Trentino DOC

One of my favorite things about setting the goal of drinking wines from every region in Italy--a process that began in 2008 and will continue through 2009--is that I buy wine I wouldn't taste otherwise. These are often the wines I remember months later because they were unexpected treats, wines that caught my imagination even though I often have low or no expectations and no real frame of reference for what I am tasting.

That happened last week when I opened up the 2005 De Tarczal Cabernet Franc. I purchased this in April 2008 from Garagiste in Seattle, received it in November, and promptly put it in the back fo the cellar for the month I finally got around to Trentin0-Alto Adige. ($16.90, Garagiste; available elsewhere for $19)

When I opened it, I was greeted with promising aromas of bell pepper, sour cherry, earth, and minerals. It struck me as less weedy than Cabernet Franc from the Loire, with a depth to the cherry aromas that made me eager to taste the wine. Flavorwise, the wine had a lovely, satiny texture wrapped around earth, leaf, and sour cherry notes. This was a really lovely, well-balanced Cabernet Franc from a region that (perhaps in my ignorance) I don't usually associate with Cab Franc. Excellent QPR.

Mushrooms go beautifully with a wine with this kind of flavor profile. Make yourself a portobello burger slathered with pesto mayonnaise and topped with roasted peppers and arugula--your tastebuds will thank you.

6 comments:

Mr Taz said...

I had a similar experience at an Italian wine tasting. Hidden among the usual suspects on the list -- Barolos, Chiantis, Aglianicos -- was a Cabernet Franc. I actually asked the pourer twice if it was really a cab franc. It was delicious, and, as you say, even more memorable because of the surprise factor. I'd have to track down the list, but I think it was Tuscan.

Katie Pizzuto said...

Tried my first Italian Cab Franc at Otto in NYC and loved it as well. I know you and I are both Garagiste fans...they sold off another wine by De Tarczal called Husar (made by the rare Marzemino grape) which is also a fantastic wine and an amazing QPR...I tried getting my hands on more but failed miserably..will have to wait until the next vintage :(

jason said...

I'm 0 for 1 in the Italian Cab Franc department. I tried the Blason from Friuli-Venezia-Giulia. We didn't hit it off but I think I'm ready to find another...

carter said...

Have not tried the Italian versions of Cab Franc, but a recent taste of a 2006 Loire Chinon version "Les Pensees de Pallus", was sensational and would never remind anyone of weeds or any other earthly thought. Perfect with roasted chicken, grilled salmon, duck, etc. Importer: The Rare Wine Co., Vineburg, Ca. Retailed at Topline in Glendale, Ca. at $17.99.

Dr. Debs said...

Cab Franc is one of those hit or miss grapes, Jason. Keep trying--you'll find one you like. And Mr. Taz, I think our palates were separated at birth!

Claire said...

My husband & I love a good Cab Franc. Yeah, sometimes, they aren't so good, but I find that's the case with any varietal. I've never had one from Italy, though, & that's what peaked my interest on this post. I'll see if I can find it around here.