I love a good Cabernet Franc — that’s just a fact. And I’ve been so happy to see it grow as a common varietal within the last few years. Read a few of my Cab Franc highlights. When done well, there’s an aged elegance to it — even in its younger years. I love the innate pepperiness of the variety; the touchable, suede-like tannins in the wine varietal; and I love that mouthful — because it is a mouthful — of fruit, earth, and spice all combine into a celebration of this foundational grape.

Well this is not that wine. This is no mouthful by any means and, as you’ll see, the flavors and textures are quite simple. But I’m prefacing this piece here because this particular expression of Cabernet Franc was not what I was expecting. So, if you’re down to try something a little different (as we all should be), then here goes.

About the Wine: The Stinson Vineyards 2016 Cabernet Franc is made of 96% Cabernet Franc grapes and 4% Petit Verdot grapes harvested from the Benevino Vineyards in Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. According to the winery, the regions limestone chert soils curbs vine vigor innate in the Cab Franc grape. The wine was aged in 100% French oak barrels (20% new) for 20 months.

13% ABV

Flavor Profile: Open the bottle of the Stinson Vineyards 2016 Cabernet Franc and breathe in soft aromas of dried fruits like currants, prunes, along with an over-arcing dark chocolate scent. This Cabernet Franc is quite light on the pour, a kind of maroony-rouge. In the glass, there’s a bit more visible red, but it’s still quite dull in its complexion.

Initial aromas are more alive with fruits, namely cranberry, black cherry, and over-ripe strawberries. There’s a hint at some floral aromas and a certain, confident dose of acidity. The palate is clean, if not a little flat. This is certainly a low-body red wine with a highly toned acidity that rides every swish and swirl of this tasting. Tannins are negligible except for the tiniest afterthought of texture. Flavors are hard to pull apart and distinguish, but include strawberry fruit leather, oak wood, a hint of chocolate and a hint of smoke.

Food Pairing: Now you may think that I’m somewhat under-whelmed with this tasting. As I prefaced, it was not what I was expecting when I was primed and ready for a Cabernet Franc. That being said, it’s not necessarily a “bad” wine. It has its time, place, and audience. The fact that I had a hard time pulling apart individual flavors means that this wine is absolutely suitable for the evening when you just want a glass of red wine and don’t necessarily want to qualify what that wine is. The fact that it’s high in acidity means it is perfect for an outdoor barbecue — ribs, burgers, chicken wings. The fact that there are very little tangible tannins means, you could probably even chill it just a bit below “normal” red wine temperature and have a nice glass on a hot day.

Drinkers choice. I’d be curious to hear from others who’ve tasted this expression of Cab Franc and what their conclusions are.

More Info: I received the Stinson Vineyards 2016 Cabernet Franc as a sample for review. (Cheers Sam!) Retail: $24.99 For more information about Stinson Vineyards, their wine, and to purchase wine directly, please visit the Stinson Vineyards website.

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