Let’s be Franc


I was going to call this post Can I be Franc with You but I looked in the voluminous World of Booze archive and discovered that I’d already written an article called that. There are only so many puns in the wine world. It’s a good article too, fun, informative and accessible.

Oh before I start on some wine recommendations, something really tickled me today. I wrote a booze book round-up for the Guardian and this was one of the comments:

“I need some advice. I recently took a boat trip to Helsinki. Just after the boat departed the duty free opened. Evereyone stocked up with clothes and mostly alcohol and chocolate. However, I wanted something of a finer class. I came acroos a bottle of liquor (can´t remember its name) which was in a elequent cantor and had Louise XIVth enbscribed on it, so its about 4 hundred years old (he ruled in France from 1643 to 1715) . I also had its authenticity confirmed by the ship steward who removed it from the glass cabinet so I could see and feel the cantor. Priced at 25% discount it cost about 2500 euros. I gave it a miss but am thinking of going back to buy it on my next cruise. Being an ignoramus on this kind of this, is one supposed to drink it or keep it as a trophy prize in the wine cabinet at home ?”

Made me laugh especially when I read it in in an E. L. Wisty voice.

Anyway, back to the wine. A very nice PR lady representing Pays d’Oc IGP sent me some wines from the South of France and the two that stood out were a couple of Cabernet Francs. I was accused on twitter recently of being addicted to PR. The problem is that they know my weak spots wine, and flattery. All any PR person has to do is send me some good wine and tell me that I’m clever and I’ll pretty much do anything. But it has to be good wine.

Like these two. Both made from Cabernet Franc which one usually finds in Bordeaux or the Loire. It’s normally light and sometimes herbaceous which I actually quite like. In the heat of the south it’s rather different.

Domaine de Brau Pure Cabernet Franc 2013 (around at £10)

I’ve had this wine before and always liked it. It’s the house wine at the Wheatsheaf in Northleach where I like to go for romantically boozy breaks with my wife. This vintage has bright red fruit, some nice refreshing acidity and then a leathery quality that teeters on being a bit funky but then doesn’t quite deliver the whole funk and nothing but the funk. It’s delicious and interesting but not so interesting that people aren’t going to like it.

Domaine Gayda Figure Libre Cabernet Franc 2013 (around £17)

Pretty much everything I’ve had from this domaine in the Languedoc is delicious. Their Cabernet Franc has a distinctively southern flavour. It’s earthy, dark, almost salty with black olives and dark cherries. Intensely savoury, I’d love to keep a bottle for a few years to see how it developed. Instead my wife and I finished the bottle in no time. She had two glasses which is a lot for her being very small and Californian.




About Henry

I’m a drinks writer. My day job is features editor at the Master of Malt blog. I also contribute to BBC Good Food, the Spectator and others. You can read some of my work here. I’ve done a bit of radio, given some talks and written a couple of books (Empire of Booze, The Home Bar and the forthcoming Cocktail Dictionary).
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