What to Drink Now

> Cabernet Franc

October brings out the primal in us. Even if we’re not tempted to howl at the sight of the harvest moon, fall’s earthy fragrances seem to trigger something deep in the recesses of our collective unconscious.

Cabernet Franc can have a similar effect. Although it’s a progenitor of well-mannered Cabernet Sauvignon, the red grape yields wine with more than a hint of the feral quality that the French refer to as sauvage. Perhaps that’s why it tends to be known mostly as a component in Bordeaux blends rather than a stand-alone varietal.

There are notable exceptions, however. Mike Dombrow of Zipp’s Liquors is partial to the red wines of Chinon, in the Loire region of France, which are made almost exclusively from Cabernet Franc. But he’s also fond of some Cabernet Francs from California, like the one from Napa Valley winery Lang & Reed, a Cab Franc specialist. With a gamy streak lurking below the black cherry and herbal aromas, it may just inspire you to do a little moon-howling after all.

Lang & Reed Napa Valley Cabernet Franc 2004, $23, at Zipp’s Liquors, 2618 E. Franklin Ave., Mpls., 612-333-8686

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