Wine Blogging Wednesday #44: Gary Vay-ner-chuk and Ca-ber-net Franc!

Hello everybody and welcome to – I am your host – Michael Mo-hamm-a-di and this is….OK OK, I can’t pull it off using text. Maybe I’ll switch it up to a video blog sometime in the future. Until then, you’ll have to relay on Gary V at WineLibrary TV ( for over the top, enthusiastic introductions!

This month’s Wine Blogging Wednesday host is Gary Vaynerchuk of WineLibrary TV. Gary’s challenge was to try an old world Cabernet Franc. He had recently returned from France and was pleasantly surprised with how well the grape is doing in Southern France, especially the Loire Valley. I think it’s a great theme as I bet most of you haven’t had a single varietal, old world Cab Franc. Often used as a blending grape, most notably in Bordeaux, Cab Franc contributes vibrant color, flavors of green vegetables (especially bell peppers) and ripe red fruits. This was a fun theme for me especially since I’m a big fan of Cabernet Franc. I decided to combine this tasting with my own challenge of pairing a Cabernet Franc with a few food items that red wine isn’t supposed to go with.

The meal (which the huskies were hoping to enjoy as well – see Raja licking his lips!):

  • Grilled asparagus (myth: asparagus doesn’t go well with wine)
  • Grilled romaine and roasted tomato salad with Cesar Dressing
  • Grilled Yellowfin Tuna – Seared Rare (myth: Fish doesn’t go with red wine)
  • Grilled Teriyaki Salmon Steak (myth: fish doesn’t go with red wine)
  • Sweet Potato Fries (myth: no myth here, these things are just great with anything!)

The wine we had comes to us from Saumur which is a town in the Loire Valley. Better known for its white wines, the Loire is home to many very interesting reds. The wine I chose is 100% Cabernet Franc, but I wouldn’t have guessed it because it lacked the trademark bell pepper component. Overall the pairing with the asparagus and fish was a success. Pinot Noir and salmon might be the classic pairing, but I’m voting for Old World Cabernet Franc as the new classic pairing!

Take home message: don’t limit yourself in your food and wine pairings. Try new things, trust your own palate, and never let anyone else tell you what works and doesn’t work.

And the wine?

2005 Manoir de la Tête Saumur Bagatelle: Decanted one hour – drank over 3 hours. Aroma’s of earth, spice, bright yet dark fruits, big league chew bubble gum, raspberry, sweet tobacco. On the palate the wine is light in style with soft dark fruits, minerals and with good acidity. Tannins are present, but neither rough nor smooth, sort of in between. The finish is 30 seconds or more with dark raspberry and sour cherry notes and a flavor that reminds me of dried candle wax. The wine was enjoyable, and went well with grilled salmon steak and grilled tuna. My rating: 88 pts, GV (good value)

Disclaimer: if you like big fruity wines, this isn’t for you. It’s old world style at its best and will pair very well with a variety of game, poultry or even heavier fish. If you like wines that let the fruit play a supporting role with minerality, acidity and tannins in good harmony, then this is a good value wine.

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3 Responses to Wine Blogging Wednesday #44: Gary Vay-ner-chuk and Ca-ber-net Franc!

  1. Pingback: Blog Jocky » Blog Archive » Wine Blogging Wednesday: Gary Vay-ner-chuk and Ca-ber-net Franc!

  2. Rajiv says:

    Hmmmm…. no green pyrazines on your ’05 or Alder’s ’05 over at Vinography. Perhaps the 2005 vintage got the Cab Franc too ripe for the usual bell peppers?

  3. michael says:

    Wow, excellent observation. I have another one or two ’05 Cab Francs at home from the Loire. I’ll open them this weekend and report back!

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