LET’S BE FRANC ABOUT ARGENTINA
The Cabernet Franc grape, Cab Franc for short, tends to do well in cooler climates. Its ancestral home is the Loire River Valley in France with its famous Cab Franc-based appellations of Chinon and Bourgueil. Skoot over to Bordeaux and the grape will show up in various chateau red blends such as in the ultimate top drop, St. Emilion’s Chateau Cheval Blanc. Let’s make our way to Argentina and we discover that Cab Franc is the new darling grape. That the Alta Vita estate is owned by the French d’Aulan family, who also owned a number of St. Emilion chateaux, is perhaps no coincidence. Alta Vista owns vineyards that they have specially sought out at higher elevations.
These special cooler terroirs in the Uco Valley of Mendoza are located at over 1,000 meters above sea level. While the sun exposure is important to ripening the grapes, the dramatic temperature drops at night time help to retain freshness and acidity in the grapes. This, in turn, is another element in the winemaking equation that gives the wine a greater aging ability. Using strict vineyard management techniques, the aim is to enhance the optimum expression of the grape variety. The average yield is a low one and a half bottles per vine and encourages concentration and complexity in the vine. This hand-harvested Cab Franc is aged in French oak barriques for a minimum of 12 months. On the nose, we get intense aromas of deep red fruits with a pleasant herbaceousness. The body has an impressive structure with soft tannins and well-integrated oak. The finish is long. Enjoy with your favourite BBQ’d red meat. 2016 ALTA VISTA PREMIUM ESTATE CABERNET FRANC V609081, $17.95