Where to start the 12 Days of Cabernet Franc, was a question I debated. After tasting over 50 Cabernet Francs during the last few weeks, and identifying the ones I want to recommend, what would the method to my madness be? Essentially, I'll present 1 or 2 a day over the next 12 days. As for the first one, I decided on a selection from Paso Robles. I taste wines from Paso as often as I can, and it seems as appropriate to start with one from there, as anywhere. The first wine is from Halter Ranch Vineyard. While the winery only dates back to 2000, the property, and one of the buildings on it, has a history going back to 1880. 245 of the Estate's 900 acres are under vine with a total of 20 different varietals. 60% of those acres are planet to Bordeaux varietals with the remainder being made up of grapes predominate in the Rhone. The 2005 Halter Ranch Vineyard Cabernet Franc has 10% Malbec blended in. The wine spent 18 months in French oak, with 40% of it being new. 300 cases of this bottling were produced and the suggested retail price is $28.
Smoke, black cherry and light cigar notes emerge on the nose of this Cabernet Franc. The palate is loaded with leather, blueberries, plum, clove and a touch of nutmeg. Blueberry pie crust notes emerge on the finish along with some bramble and a bit of earth. This wine has a firm tannic structure, which yields with time in the decanter, and/or the glass. This wine will be an excellent match for Braised Beef Short Ribs.
While I found this wine to be very drinkable now, especially after it got some air, it should improve over the next 5 years and drink well for a couple after that. It's interesting to note that whole this wine has relatively high alcohol, at 15%; it doesn't drink hot at all. This wine is an impressive, reasonably priced effort from Halter Ranch Vineyard. I'll certainly keep my eye on their other wines going forward.
Up Next: The 12 Days of Cabernet Franc Continues.