Monday, March 23, 2009

Aromas in the Air, Cab Franc in the Glass

Every year around this time, the Coachella Valley is perfumed by citrus blossoms, one of the most intoxicating airborne scents you'll ever breathe in. Perhaps that's why we have a hankering for aromatic wines these days. Besides floral-scented whites such as Viognier or Riesling, red wines can also be bloomy in aroma or taste as in the violet scents of Cabernet Franc. This varietal is more often used as a blending grape but it can shine as a single-varietal or one-grape wine. Two we've tasted in different price ranges lately are worth checking out. The 2006 Franc by Cosentino Winery's Crystal Valley Cellars is made from Cabernet Franc grapes from Mandeville Island, Napa and Lodi. More fruity than floral, it's a wine you can enjoy when you don't want the more aggressive flavors and tannins of Cabernet Sauvignon, Franc's grape offspring. Try it with grilled meats or use a dusting of cinnamon-based dry rub to pick up on the wine's rich plum overtones. Stay away from too much heat in the foods as this wine comes in at 14.9% alcohol. We found it for less than $12 at Los Angeles Wine Company in Palm Desert. Next, a Cab Franc splurge to remember.

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