The Horoscope of Wine
As a wine nut and an avid horoscope devour-er it seems natural I'd make some correlations. I began my series on the Zodiac of wine grapes a few months ago in my column for the Fort Myers News-Press and thought I'd share them here. First up is Virgo, which bears a striking resemblance in attitude and structure to Cabernet Franc.
To see other Zodiac signs and their varietal match click here.
Here is the first in the series:
I love wine, obviously, and I love the grapes so much I feel like they have their own little personalities. They’re almost as predictable as the signs of the zodiac. For example if Virgo were a wine grape it would be Cabernet Franc. Virgos are hard to get to know, coming across as stoic perfectionists with a cool calm exterior. But when you delve deeper you find a hard-working, loyal friend who in spite of the placid demeanor can be filled with nervous energy. They work very well in groups as they don’t demand the spotlight but can excel independently because they expect so much from themselves.
Likewise, Cabernet Franc has supported and rounded out Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon (Franc’s love-child with Sauvignon Blanc) for centuries in Bordeaux. But when devoted winemakers put this grape center-stage, as they traditionally have in Loire, France, the resultant wine is stellar. It is lighter than Cabernet Sauvignon in body but is aromatically complex with tobacco and peppery spice offset by violet and bright raspberry. Just as a Virgo can sometimes come across as harsh; the adverse characteristic of Cabernet Franc is its harshness when it’s picked too early or vinified poorly. Think green bell pepper with no fruitiness at all.
Like the Virgo has an air of nobility, so does Cabernet Franc. It will not partake in the sordid fruit-bomb style of winemaking that is currently going out of style. nor will it sway toward watery overproduction. It is one determined, traditional, hard working grape that, once you get to know it, may just be your new best friend for life.
Try: Reserve des Vignerons Saumur Champigny, 2012 for a light take on Cab Franc from the Saumur Champigny region in Loire, France at Total Wine for $12.99.
Or Try: Domaine Catherine & Pierre Breton Bourgueil “Franc de Pied” 2011 for an extremely rare experience of Cabernet Franc grown on European rootstock- an anomaly since the Phylloxera epidemic of the 1800’s required grafting of American rootstock to all European vines. Available in limited quantities at Bleu Cellar in Naples for $29.99.