The Most Misunderstood Grape... Made CLEAR ($25)

Posted by Joe Salamone

Cabernet Franc Speaking Frankly
2010 Courault Les Rouliers

Few grapes are more misunderstood - few grapes can be more interesting.

Aside from a few lonely icons, like Cheval Blanc and Clos Rougeard and Bernard Baudry, Cabernet Franc rarely sees the spotlight.

There are some good reasons for this. It's a finicky grape; grown in the wrong place it can have all the charm of an ash tray.

BUT, as the icons above have proven, there is a very serious potential in this grape and frankly, Cab Franc needs a few more serious advocates.

Today we follow the lead of our Parisian brethren, who have for a few years considered Benoît Courault one of the best in the region.

This is one of the most articulate expressions of Cabernet Franc we've ever tasted - the freshness of the vintage plays perfectly with the crystalline, vibrant style that Courault, rather uniquely, is able to manage. The wine is brisk and red-fruited with a spicy, herbal core and a deeply satisfying meatiness, but this is wrapped around a glowing layer of suave fruit and acid.

Cabernet Franc has a much different stride than Pinot Noir - and not to sound too bookish, but Courault's Les Rouliers is perfectly "varietally correct." Still, there is something about the leanness and nimbleness in this wine that recalls more rustic Pinot Noirs: We're talking about Marsannays, Jura Pinots and the like.

As drinkable, as joyous, as this wine obviously is - it's also a serious wine. Les Rouliers is sourced from organically tended old vines in the clay schist vineyards of Anjou. These are vines, this is a region, famous for producing meaty and powerful wines.

Indeed, there is more than enough substance to make this a great food wine. It's a bottle to pair with a wide range of dishes from striped bass with a spring vegetable ragout to more obvious things like duck confit and beef.

At the table with food or without, you'll find your glass being emptied at a fast clip.

Which may be a bit alarming: Courault only made 250 cases of Les Rouliers.

To order, reply to this email or call the store at (212) 980-9463.

Joe Salamone
Wine Buyer
Crush Wine & Spirits