Columbia Crest 2005 Reserve cabernet franc

Another WAwineman classic, 1st posted on January 10, 2010:

This is just plain disturbing…Gary Coleman is urging a boycott of his latest flick because his character’s so-called “body double” drops his pants for a full frontal. “I wanted all my fans (he has fans?) to protest my (unit) being in the movie…and I heard the body double was ugly.” So if his “body double” was a George Clooney look-a-like that came equipped with an industrial-length “man-tool”, it would have been ok?? This is just completely wrong from every angle! Miley Vyrus will dump her ‘Hannah Montana’ show to move toward more adult-oriented shows…like what? ‘Clueless’? ‘Gossip Girl’? Meryl Streep must be doubling up on her injections…right. I’m not getting my seat warmed up for the sequel…’Amelia Alaska’. Why, “I can see the Jonas Brothers from my front porch!” Yikes.

Let’s go to the man-section of the paper…the sports section! Gimme a hell yeah! O crap…Pete Carroll will be the next Seahawks coach. Any bets that he won’t last through his 5-year contract? For fishermen, this is depressing: some dude hooked a 22lb, 4oz bigmouth bass over in Japan’s largest freshwater lake, tying fishing’s most sacred 77-year old record. Skeptics, who also happen to be baseball fans (think Sadaharu Oh breaking Hank Aaron’s homerun record), cry foul that the lake itself is not as large as U.S. lakes and didn’t face hooks like that thrown by U.S. anglers. tsk. Wow, it sure got quiet around here (hands behind back looking at the second tier of the studio audience). Anyway, an Orangeburg, SC man was arrested for stealing $80 worth of meat from a grocery store. He had a self-esteem problem so when he was caught with that bulging slab of meat under his shirt…he claimed he was “massaging his meat.” tsk. Alrighty then.

I’ve documented Washington State’s biggest producing winery on previous reviews. Ray Einberger and his boys are basking in the recent limelight of having their 2005 cabernet reserve listed as a magazine’s number one “most exciting wine” of 2009. I love how the marketers skew this info by touting that wine (and winery) as the magazine’s ‘number one’ wine in the world. Whatevers. Well, I won’t make a stink about it since it is a Washington wine and the smart ones know better.

Why I chose this wine to purchase was another matter. What the heck is up with cabernet franc being so popular around Woodinville lately? Cab franc is mostly known as a blending wine for traditional “Bourdeaux” blends and rarely stands in as the principal grape, unless it’s from Chinon. Cab franc can be quite “herbal” and has a color lighter than one of its parents, cabernet sauvignon. I found none of that with this bottle. Couple that with this being a single-vineyard sourced bottling, which along with the Stone Tree Vineyard zinfandel, are the winery’s very first single-vineyard bottlings. Imagine how good the wine must be from a superb red year in Washington State!

Beverly Vineyard overlooks the mighty Columbia River at Sentinel Gap. Its Winchester sand soils, hot summer days, and cool summer nights provide a near ideal locale for growing low-yield cabernet franc grapes. The grapes were hand-picked and vinified separately in a mix of new and used oak.

Tonight’s pairing was good ol’ beef stew with a little pepper and parsley thrown in. Also, I guzzled another glass of yesterday’s shizzle of a wine from Adams Bench. This cab franc showed up more clean purple, making the Adams Bench cabernet appear with some red. The pairing was good, but…I just have to admit, I am not a fan of black pepper being the front flavor (and aroma) of a wine. I gather a lot of other people are. All the other qualities of this wine reveal a studious balance of fruit, acid, and oak. Quite well done and a good example of this varietal, even for cab franc-neutral drinkers. I do have to admit, the Adams Bench was my choice to pair with the beef stew, but that wine was priced at more than twice what I paid for this cab franc. Quite debatable in terms of return-on-investment.

Color: black-purple, not bright red anywhere. Nose: red cherry with some peppery heat, cocoa, rosey potpourri. Mouthfeel: full, ready to explode. Tail trail: 8 seconds. Flavors: black pepper, blackberry, black cherry, bitter chocolate, dissected cigarette, and a fade to black plum. Balance: black pepper permeates through the front- and mid-palate, black fruits evolve evenly. Power: surprisingly held in check but not suppressed. Dimension: digging deep…this from a million-case plus winery. Finesse: carved, refined, sculpted. A reference example of why cabernet franc should stand alone.

Columbia Valley AVA. Beverly Vineyard. 100% cabernet franc. 500 cases. Alcohol: 14.2%. Acidity: 0.55%. pH 3.6. Rated: 90. Retail: $35. Paid $20 at Fred Meyer Alderwood. Value: $20. This is WAwineman…uncorked, uneducated but not uncouth.

24hr p.s.: the wine’s dried grass and tobacco aromas/flavors have revealed themselves as the black pepper subsides. Fun black tongue and zero buzz or headache. This wine was superbly crafted. Raise my rating to 93 and value to $30. Paired with homemade hamburger and semi-homemade gravy. The tobacco flavor is reminiscent of a 1970’s bar’s loaded ashtray. Gritty and focused. 

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