WTN: Cab Franc & Merlot Blends

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WTN: Cab Franc & Merlot Blends

Postby Howie Hart » Sun Jun 10, 2012 9:29 am

2006 Havens "Bourriquot" Napa Valley Cabernet Franc 67%/Merlot 33% Blend (from 375 ml)
2010 Hart Cellars "Bordertown Red" (70% Cabernet Franc from Don DeMaison vineyard, Niagara County, NY - 30% Merlot from Watson's, Niagara-On-The-Lake, Ont.)

About a year and a half ago, I posted this request for help in finding a benchmark to compare a wine I was making that is 70% Cab Franc and 30% Merlot:
http://www.wineloverspage.com/forum/village/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=35788&p=300210.
Robin answered the call with a suggestion and within a week, Dale had sent me 2006 Havens "Bourriquot" Napa Valley Cabernet Franc/Merlot Blend (375 ml). I bottled my version about 6 months ago and decided it was time to see how they compared, so last night, I had a small, intimate supper for four, making Beef Stroganoff over homemade fettuccini, cooked spinach and sourdough bread, followed by strawberry shortcake. I apparently broke the food pairing rules, as everything I found recommended Gamay.
Both wines were opened about a half-hour before pouring and were the same temperature. The Bourriquot was poured first. Deep color, whiffs of cedar, smoke and dark red fruit. The 14.5% alcohol was evident, but not objectionable. Long, full finish with nicely integrated tannins. Very enjoyable and it worked well with the Stroganoff. After pouring the Bordertown, and comparing them side by side, the amazing thing was how similar the wines were. The Bordertown was lower in alcohol (13.5%), but had a little more acidity and a bit of a spice thing, which might be from using Hungarian oak. My son thought cinnamon, but I didn't get that. Both wines were very enjoyable with the meal. Generally, I don't think it is proper to post TNs on my own wines, but I thought I'd share my satisfaction with this endeavor. It confirms my belief that good wines can be made at home.
Chico - Hey! This Bottle is empty!
Groucho - That's because it's dry Champagne.
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Re: WTN: Cab Franc & Merlot Blends

Postby Brian Gilp » Sun Jun 10, 2012 9:44 am

Glad it turned out to our liking. No doubt good wine can be made at home. Would you comment on the body and mouthfeel of the two wines? Were you able to get the same body out of the lower brix, higher acid east coast fruit?
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Re: WTN: Cab Franc & Merlot Blends

Postby Howie Hart » Sun Jun 10, 2012 9:57 am

The body and mouthfeel were remarkably similar, with the exception of the alcohol vs. acid that I mentioned, and those differences were not great, but noticeable. I'm not familiar with Napa vintages, but 2010 in our growing area was ideal - perhaps the best ever - dry, lots of sun, but no killer heat, and long with some varieties ripening well into November.
Chico - Hey! This Bottle is empty!
Groucho - That's because it's dry Champagne.
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Re: WTN: Cab Franc & Merlot Blends

Postby Victorwine » Mon Jun 11, 2012 7:35 am

Hi Howie,
Glad to hear, your Cab Franc/ Merlot is coming around nicely. This was your “first usage” of the Hungarian barrel? Did you “prep” the barrel first before placing your wine in it? Usually with the commercial made barrels that I buy, I put them through a “regimental prepping” process prior to placing my wines in them. The only barrel I didn’t go “crazy” with was the 30 gal American oak barrel my father and I made (Thanks to Ron). The 4/4 rough sawn oak lumber (cabinet grade) sat in the rafters of my garage for almost 10 years.

Salute
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Re: WTN: Cab Franc & Merlot Blends

Postby Howie Hart » Mon Jun 11, 2012 7:50 am

Yes - first batch. All I did was soak it in hot water with K-meta for about a day, drained and rinsed. The second batch is a different blend, which I plan to bottle later in the year, and I'm hoping to fill it with Pinot Noir from this coming year.
Chico - Hey! This Bottle is empty!
Groucho - That's because it's dry Champagne.
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Re: WTN: Cab Franc & Merlot Blends

Postby Redwinger » Mon Jun 11, 2012 8:02 am

Howie-
Was this CF blend the same wine we sampled at the Indy off line? If so, I was quite impressed with your efforts and the wine showed quite well with an upside that was apparent waaay back then. Bravo.
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Re: WTN: Cab Franc & Merlot Blends

Postby Howie Hart » Mon Jun 11, 2012 8:48 am

Yes - I brought some barrel samples to a few offlines last year. The final product was bottled in November.
Chico - Hey! This Bottle is empty!
Groucho - That's because it's dry Champagne.
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Re: WTN: Cab Franc & Merlot Blends

Postby Dale Williams » Mon Jun 11, 2012 9:02 am

Howie, sounds great and I look forward to trying.
By the way, last night I took along a bottle of Hart Cellars Pinot Gris to a family party (Betsy's mom and cousin are going with us to Scotland, and arrived- figured these Californians had never had a NY wine). Really quite tasty. Cool copper-gold color, some time on skins? Will write up notes tomorrow.
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