Thursday, July 1, 2010

Cabernet Franc and the Lehigh Valley - Part 1

Today's blog post is written by wine lover and guest blogger Jim Hutchings.

Cabernet Franc has long been ignored, looked down upon, and confused with its more robust offspring, Cabernet Sauvignon. Other times, Franc plays the second fiddle to Sauvignon and is used only in blending. In its blending capacity, Franc needs to be better understood. It is not merely a filler grape. Instead, Franc adds a maturity to young Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Meritage wines. It adds an elegance that greatly helps in keeping wild young wines under control.

This elegance became clearer to me while attending a recent orchestra performance. Each piece of the orchestra played flawlessly and added its own individual sound to the whole, which I compare to the big and complex wines Cabernet Sauvignon and blends often produce.

On this particular evening, though, Elizabeth Pitcairn was the violin soloist and her performance was my Cabernet Franc. The orchestra behind her was powerful, robust, and beautiful, but it was a completely different affair when she started playing. Her single violin rose above the orchestra with an elegance that was simply not available with a full orchestra.

Don’t get me wrong – big reds with lots of flavors working together or sometimes fighting for attention can be very fun. But as we move into the summer months and people tend to switch from big reds to lighter whites, the Cabernet Franc virtuoso is worth keeping on the summer drinking list. Thankfully this mature and elegant wine can be found at more than half of our Lehigh Valley Wineries!

To be continued tomorrow…

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