A little exploring with Cabernet Franc has provided satisfying results in recent weeks. I have read in national publications and blogs about the merits of Cab Franc from France’s Loire Valley.

I’ve bought a couple and so far like most of them. My best experience to date was Cab Franc – from all places – upper state Michigan. My previous tastes of Cab Franc were mostly disappointing to down right awful.

So I’ve been buying some French Cab Franc and enjoying it. The Loire Valley is known mostly for it’s white wines – Sauvignon Blanc and Chenin Blanc. But it’s also known for its bottlings of 100 percent Cabernet Franc.

Chinon is the Loire region for Cab Franc and about the only part of the region known for red wine grapes. The wines are known for acidity and spiced fruit flavors. I agree with the spiced fruit flavors but haven’t found most of the Cab Francs I’ve consumed to be over-the-topic acidic.

Tonight I opened a bottle of Domaine du Grand Bouqueteau 2006 Chinon. It had the classic stinky nose of French Burgundy or Beaujolais – which I love. It was quite acidic and out-of-whack on opening but softened considerably with just a little bit of time.

It has pronounced fruit and an herbal quality I found pleasing. After decanting, or simply being open a while, it would be a fine sipper without food. I had the wine with a salt-n-peppered Ribeye and some veggies. It was quite nice. It was even better with the couple pieces of dark chocolate afterwards.

You can find many of these wines around the $15 price point in better wine shops. Cabernet Franc should not be thought of as just a blending grape. Pick up a bottle and you might be surprised how easy a good Cab Franc drinks with food or alone.

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