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Favorite new world cab francs?

Noticed a review by Rob't Lauriston of one with which I was not familiar right about the time I had a Crocker Starr cab franc, a personal fav. I've not seen much similarity between New World (specifically California) and say, Chinon or Bourgeil hence the exclusion of the latter.

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  1. I'm going to sound like a broken record (an expression that may be lost on some younger folks):
    In order of preference: Pride Mountain, Spring Mountain Vineyard's Cabernet Francisco, Crocker & Starr, Titus
    Less special: Lang & Reed
    Not so good: Tresspass.

    I love the grape, the varietal.

    1 Reply
    1. re: maria lorraine

      Lang and Reed always one of my favorites. One that I recently tried and was quite good as well as organic is Yorkville from Mendocino

    2. >>> I've not seen much similarity between New World (specifically California) and say, Chinon or Bourgeil . . . <<<

      For me, the major problem historically is that California winemakers treated Cabernet Franc as if it were Cabernet Sauvignon, rather than a Loire Valley grape. But with the very obvious and very noteworthy exception of Ch√Ęteau Cheval Blanc, Cabernet Franc is a minor player in the wines of Bordeaux, and so the "learning curve" -- at least as California is concerned -- has been long and, perhaps, unnecessarily steep.

      Basically, my list would agree with Maria Lorraine's. Pride Mountain and Crocker & Starr have been very consistent producers of high-quality Cab Franc. The most Loire-like Cab Franc I've ever had from California came from Indian Springs Vineyards in Nevada County (Sierra Foothills).

      But candidly, I stick with those from the Loire . . .


      1 Reply
      1. re: zin1953

        ML and Jason: I've had the Titus about which I agree with ML but I've not had the Pride and I will have to track it down.

        In the Bordeaux varietal context, what about Petite Verdots? I had one several years ago that I rather liked (and, of course, now don't recall the producer) and I don't recall seeing any others for quite a while. Supposedly there is a very good (albeit rather expensive) one which is imported from Spain. I've also read about one from Jaunik in WA but have not bothered to contact the winery to get one.

      2. If you're looking for something that lands somewhere between the CA and the Loire versions of this grape, New York's North Fork might be a good place to start. Pindar Vineyards makes a highly lauded Cab Franc:


        1. If you like the more Chinon styles of wines there are a few Washington State producers that do a good job. Chinook's Cab Franc is pretty consistent vintage to vintage and quite tasty. Also, look for any wines made from the Portteus Vineyards. Portteus makes one themselves, but they also sell grapes to quite a few other people. Chatter Creek also makes one that is well thought of, but it's a little more new world in style.

          1. I, too, like Pride Mountain Cab Franc. They' defnitely will not be confused with Old world stuff, but I like them for what they are.

            I've not had many experience with New World CFs, but another one that I chanced upon and bought a few of are the 1999 and the 2001 Haven's Bourriquot from Napa. Pretty good stuff, cheaper than Pride, but worth seeking out, imho.

            1 Reply
            1. re: RCC

              I'm a big fan of the Haven's wines (although I wonder how much longer that will be the case since I understand that Michael is no longer involved in any capacity). The Bourriquot had a fair bit of merlot in it, I think.

            2. I recall enjoying Trefethen Cabernet Franc way back when but I prefer sticking with Chinon believe it or not.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Chinon00

                trust me, I like the french cab francs but I was curious what folks had to say about those from "here". I got hooked on Pam Starr's wine quite a while ago and was wondering about what I might be missing.

              2. I really enjoy the Bellentine Cab Franc.

                1. In a league completely and totally of its own:

                  1990's Dalla Valle 'Maya' (excluding the 1998). Probably my favorite wines ever produced in the New World.

                  Other than that:
                  Soter (OR)
                  Crocker and Starr
                  Haven's Bourriquot (though I've not had any recent vintages)
                  Pride (though this tastes nothing like Cab Franc -- it is just Foley being Foley... and I think it is better than the basic Cab Sauvignon or Merlot... but they all pretty much taste the same.)

                  FWIW: My favorite Cab Franc in the world is not French, but Italian: Quintarelli Alzero

                  8 Replies
                  1. re: whiner

                    But is it fair to call "Maya" a Cabernet Franc? It certainly CONTAINS Cab Franc, but it's always in a blend with Cabernet Sauvignon (which, IIRC, is a higher percentage than the CF). Regardless of the percentages, it is never a varietal wine but rather a proprietary one.

                    Of course the same is true of the Havens Bourriquot -- it's a proprietary wine, rather than a varietal, but at least here, it's a Cabernet Franc and Merlot blend, with the former always in a dominant role.


                    1. re: zin1953

                      >>But is it fair to call "Maya" a Cabernet Franc? It certainly CONTAINS Cab Franc, but it's always in a blend with Cabernet Sauvignon (which, IIRC, is a higher percentage than the CF). Regardless of the percentages, it is never a varietal wine but rather a proprietary one.<<

                      Fair enough... I think the Maya's I've loved have all been about 50/50 CF/CS and, to me, like the Bourriquot they deffinitely taste of having a high percentage of CF in them. But you are *certainly* right that it is a proprietary blend, and sometimes slightly higher in CS.

                    2. re: whiner

                      Whiner - any idea who imports the Alzero?

                      1. re: ibstatguy

                        I believe it's Robert Chadderdon.

                      2. re: whiner

                        Just sold a vertical of 1986 through 1993 alzero, his stuff, all of it, are my favorites wines in world. If you ever get a chance to try his amandorlato, oh my.

                        1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                          Delucacheesemonger, as the winemaking at Quintarelli is being passed down from the grand master to the nephew, Bellini, what differences if any have you detected in the overall approach? I have a few left of a case of '95 Ca de Merlo, of which the currently available vintages are about twice what I paid, so I've pretty much resigned myself to being excluded from the Quintarelli wing of earthly delights. Curious to know what I'll be missing, of course, thanks.

                          1. re: moto

                            Being all of mine were from Giuseppe, all from early 80's through 97, hard to compare to new as only had one, a valpolicella riserva and seemed light compared to others, may just be my palate is sinking as well, so cannot be sure. Had a CdM a while ago, do not know which of the gang made it but was very light. His older stuff is not for food, old cheese and fruitcake maybe, but it is and was a meal on it's own.
                            Drank a 90 Amarone two weeks ago, was amazing, still fresh and monstrous. Although not Cab Franc, as Dal Forno is as expensive as Q, try a Thomas Bussola if you can find it, much less expensive and almost just as concentrated.
                            Have a mixed case of Q left, keep getting offers.

                      3. My two favorites are Keenan (CA) and Owen Roe (WA). I had a 2005 Owen Roe Rosa Mystica Cab Franc Saturday night and it was fantastic.

                        1. I'm more partial to Old World from the Loire Valley, however last year I had a few bottles of Cosentino's Cab France simply called "Franc." It was a great retail price, $12.99, and it tasted fantastic with some great meat-based dishes.

                          I've also had some good new world ones from Uruguay and Southern Brazil which were lighter in alcohol than some of the California Ones.

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: vinhotinto75

                            For evryday type cab francs (under$20) Lang and Reed, and yorkville Cellars

                            1. re: Ichewonthis

                              Please let me know where you buy the Lang and Reed for under $20, and which vintage. I love their Cab Franc.


                              1. re: pjaym17

                                If you're not familiar with wine-searcher here are close to 20 retailers <$20. Their 'pro-version' would show even more but you have to have a subscription.

                          2. If you can should find yourself in the Healdsburg area, make an appointment at Acorn Winery and try their Cab Franc. Some vintages are completely mind-blowing and it's always good. This is a very old property with lots of varieties planted on it. The owners are great and we've loved their wines for years. They do a version of a field blend too that's based on their own Zinfandel & Syrah, with several other varieties blended in...... VERY GOOD!

                            1. I'm big fan of the Paso Robles region, and Chateau Margene makes my favorite new world Cab Franc, hands down.

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: Matt Esq.

                                Want an over the top fruit bomb from Paso, check out Tobin James! -mJ

                                1. re: Matt Esq.

                                  didn't see anything on their web site about a Cab Franc bottling; is it only available at the winery?

                                  1. re: ibstatguy

                                    They've made a James Gang Reserve Cab Franc in the past. The 2005 was a club member selection. Probably gone now but stay tuned. These guys really do pack a lot of wallop in a bottle at generally reasonable prices.

                                2. Hard to find in the US, but I am proud of our Ontario Cab Francs, which are more Old World in style (Bourgeuil comes closest in my mind). Light to medium-bodied, moderately tannic. Sour cherry fruit, with hints of spice, bell pepper, and (not to everyone`s liking) barnyard. Most Ontario wineries produce good to excellent examples. The more mainstream ones (Inniskillin, Jackson-Triggs, Hildebrant) have greater New World sensibilities; smaller producers (Strewn, Lenko) let it rip with a full-on trip to an Ontario game farm. Worth a try, if you get a chance. While you are there, try the Gamay.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: zamorski

                                    Had one a few years back from Ontario that do to some sort of evaporation through the barrel, came out at 17.5% alcohol, a behemoth and was really wonderful, was a 2002 bought in 05.
                                    Ravenswood also has a nice one, very brambley.

                                    1. re: ibstatguy

                                      I couldn't get your link to work but this is the url I copied from the article itself:


                                    2. I had a Ravenswood Cab Franc a while back. Can't remember the vintage. It was really very good.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: jpc8015

                                        Just got two cases at $7.50/bottle of the 2004 and the 2002, love it.

                                      2. I have read through all the responses to the original post and I am very surprised nobody has mentioned Larkin. The last two vintages that I have tasted 04 and 05 have been absolutely incredible (06 is being released soon I hear). The wine has incredible concentration with out being overly extracted, alcohol is balanced and the wine has incredible elegance. Check out their website: http://www.larkinwines.com/
                                        Certainly not at the bottom of the food chain in terms of price, but well worth the money.

                                        1. I can't say I've had too many cab francs, but of those that stand out: Paradigm of Oakville and Dorigo of Colli Orientali del Friuli.