Light-ish garnet with crystal-clear edges and considerable sediment.. A beguiling blend of smoke, motor oil, dust and RIDICULOUS spicy sweet perfume explode out of the nose. Cassis and cold tea with milk. Almost-fat tincture of blueberry and pie-crust are buoyed along with an earthiness and briar I would come far short of calling “green”.
This is an interesting Cab Franc. It is in a shouldered bottle, so obviously the drinker’s first psychological instinct is to go BDX-assumptive on it. And it has a lot of those qualities. But that first sniff of perfume, light and delicate while inundating, THAT is what brings to thought some sort of wicked mind-meld, some completely plausible shape-shift into a soft-shouldered offering from the Loire. The more air it gets, the more Chinon it feels–and it definitely has the color.
In the mouth, gritty spice and a little burn do nothing to dissuade the heady floral. Thin light and clean, beautiful clear fruit doing a crazy jig on both freshness and vegetal. Light bitter provides life and verve and morphs quickly into rich blackberry finish and tannins both teeth-wiping and sugar-coated.
This wine is definitely an anomaly at first, but upon closer inspection turns out to be a Loire-style CF masquerading on the shelf as a Bordeaux–which, in America in 2018, is probably smart marketing. If it convinces even ONE convert to the REAL style of Cab-franc, it has done its job. I can’t wait until some day when I over-hear in a wine-shop, “I had this Cabernet Franc–it looked like all the others–but it was FRESH and ALIVE and in the place of dense extraction and oak it had a PULSE, a magical youthful LIFE and sexiness I’ve never seen before and we’ve never tasted anything like it. Do you have this wine?”
2012 CARR Cabernet Franc Camp 4 Santa Ynez Valley Santa Barbara County California 14.0