“#CabFrancDay” is upon us. I have many reasons to enjoy this national wine day, but I guess the most important reason is that I have liked the varietal, even before I knew that it was Cabernet Franc, and it is not a new grape, actually in the pecking order of grapes, it is the father of the Cabernet Sauvignon grape. The purpose of the “day” is to remind people that this grape is great on its own and I have always thought that it is the best grape to feature the terroir; and enhances other wines when it is blended. I also enjoy this day, because I watched how it slowly evolved during my early days of writing this blog, when my writing was even more simplistic and juvenile compared to today. When people ask me what I am going to be drinking for a party, I usually don’t have an idea, until I am in my cellar or at a restaurant and I have studied the wine carte. I actually thought about the wine that I was selecting for this day, but I didn’t reveal it, during any wine discussions on Social Media, until this moment.
My Bride puts up with me, and my craziness at times, especially since I told her it was Cabernet Franc Day. Then she liked the idea, even though during the week, since she is considered an essential worker, she has less time to spend in the kitchen, and I can probably dirty every pot and pan, and all the dishes, if I start to cook, it is just my nature. We had lamb chops and we had a couple of filets. She decided to marinate the chops for the next day and we would have the filets with the opening of the bottle, and then finish the bottle the next day with the chops. At home, even great wine, usually lasts two days. She made some simple sides of garlic mashed potatoes and steamed carrots.
I kept the wine a secret, until I brought it upstairs and then my Bride relived the second time, we visited Hillebrand and of course Trius Winery and their restaurant. We were taken to a private tasting room in a loft setting, just to taste the special Trius wines and their Showcase collection, and we were having such a great time tasting and buying, that our concierge had to contact their restaurant in the same structure that we were running late for our reservation. We got a chance to remember that passed moment as we had a bottle of Trius Showcase Red Shale Cabernet Franc, Clark Farm Vineyards Four Mile Creek VQA 2012. A little history is needed for this wine from the Niagara-on-the-Lake winery and NOTL reminds me of the Traverse City region of Michigan, as I had family in Saint Catherines, Ontario (basically next door) and both regions were originally cherry orchards and now both regions are great wine regions. The original Hillebrand Winery about a quarter of a century ago, created their Trius Red Wine, and it took the country by storm that they were making a Bordeaux Blend that was acclaimed and brought new interest to the region. Eventually, there were more Trius wines being created instead of the Hillebrand and in 2012, Trius Winery was created. Four Mile Creek VQA is the largest sub-region of the Niagara-on-the-Lake VQA and Clark Farm Vineyards is famed for their red shale soil, which adds to the terroir of the land. The extra long name for this particular wine is that the “Showcase” collection only features single vineyard wines, similar to the concept of a “cru.” After aging for eighteen months, the best barrels were saved for this wine and four-hundred-seventy-five cases were, and the balance of the barrels were used for blending in other wines at the winery. It was a beautiful deep wine with a nose that opened up as I was pouring it into the glasses, the aroma of dark stone fruit was competing with the filets as they were cooking. Black cherry, black raisins and blackberry were the initial tastes, the tannins were still elegant and offered some notes of vanilla and spices at the long finish emphasizing the terroir, which is always my favorite part of a wine. There is something special that Cabernet Franc does for the “dirt” as it mellows in aging. Here was the first Trius Cabernet Franc wine and at eight years of age, it was still so youthful, and a very special way to enjoy a middle of the week meal and a celebration.