Wine Review: Cougar Crest Cabernet Franc
When the word Cabernet is uttered most people immediately assume the reference is to Cabernet Sauvignon. But there’s another Cabernet, the father to Cabernet Sauvignon if you will…Cabernet Franc.
Often found in Bordeaux or Bordeaux style blends from other regions of the world, Cabernet Franc is mostly used as a blending grape with Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. It is one of the two parent grapes of Cabernet Sauvignon (Sauvignon Blanc being the other) and is lighter in style. Depending on the region it is grown in, it can have a peppery aroma with nodes of tobacco, raspberries, cassis and coffee. There are only a few areas of the world where it is made into a 100% varietal wine, the oldest being the Loire Valley in France and mostly recently the United States in Washington, California, and even North Carolina.
I have personally always been a fan of Cabernet Franc but it can be a challenging grape for others to wrap their heads around. One of the wines that turned me onto 100% Cabernet Franc was Cougar Crest’s Cabernet Franc from Walla Walla, Washington.
The 2006 vintage was one of the better vintages yet. Established in 2001, Cougar Crest is a small winery in one of the smallest wine regions in Washington – Walla Walla. Owners Deborah and David Hansen have been growing grapes for years in the appellation and selling them to other wineries in the area. Moving into winemaking, they established a winery and tasting room near the Walla Walla airport and produced 900 cases the first year.
The 2006 Cabernet Franc displays ripe fruit when first opened with dark cherries, chocolate, tobacco and coffee. The wine develops as air is exposed to it and displays different flavors and aromas throughout the course of the night. The tannins actually come through further down the line as it starts to show more pepper, dried currant, herbs, and mocha with a silky, buttery like finish. It is the perfect wine to pair with heavier dishes…steak or even traditional heavy Italian cuisines.
It’s no secret this wine is great, check out the ratings. We personally give it 2 1/2 stars on our 3 star scale.
- 92 points, Wine Spectator
- 2009 Double Gold, Florida International
- 2009 Double Gold, International Eastern