My wine career began in Virginia about 20 years ago. I had just moved from Ohio to Charlottesville, and toured a winery there with my wife. We both fell in love with the rolling hills, the rows of vines, the Blue Ridge mountains in the distance, and the whole idea of wine and winemaking.
It wasn’t long after that first visit that we made our way to every winery within an hour’s drive. (There are a lot of wineries there!) And most featured at least one wine made from Cabernet Franc, the most-planted grape in Virginia, due to it’s ability to stand up to the summer humidity and the occasional early frost. In Europe it is primarily used as a blending grape, but it’s coming more into vogue here in America as a stand-alone wine. Whenever I taste one now it reminds me of my early Virginia wine excursions.
Cosentino Winery is located on the historic Saint Helena Highway in Napa, but they have recently expanded into Lodi, offering several different varietals, The Cab, The Chard, and one of my favorites, The Franc, featuring 100% Cabernet Franc grapes. This is a consistently good wine, with an interesting nose of clove, vanilla and cinnamon, and big lush dark fruit flavors, primarily plum, with a smoky finish. Best of all, you can usually find it for $15 or less!
Fun Fact: Cabernet Franc is the grandfather grape of Cabernet Sauvignon! Genetic analysis has revealed Cabernet Sauvignon is actually a cross between Cab Franc and Sauvignon Blanc!
On my five-cork scale based on taste and value, I give Cosentino Winery’s The Franc 3.8 corks! Even though it’s made in Central California, it brings me fond memories of Virginia.
If you’d like to try interesting wines like this, please join me at our next private wine party at Matt the Miller’s Tavern! I host a wine dinner there every month, and we feature several interesting wines, each paired with a delicious course. There are always cool prizes to win, too, so listen Wednesday at 4:15 to win your spot on the guest list, or click here for a chance to win!