Anyone who knows me knows that I have a soft spot in my heart for Lang & Reed Cabernet Franc. I have put it on every wine list that I have created and have confidently recommended it to hundreds of people. You could call me a cab francophile because I just adore the the complexities of that grape: the bright berry notes, the hints of herbs and that characteristic green bean, vegetal quality. For me, it is one of the most versatile wines for food pairing and in the case of Lang & Reed a great wine to just enjoy any old time. I just tasted their newly released 2008 vintage. What blew me away about this wine is how serious and well-structured it has become. This is not to say that it wasn't well-made before, but it just keeps getting better year in and year out. The wine is bursting with bright berries and ripe cherry notes, cedar and spice. The green notes typical of the variety come through here as tomato leaf and tarragon with a touch of green olive. And the thing that is most compelling in this vintage is that along side all of the seductive, lush elements in this wine is a formidable tannin structure that really keeps the architecture of the wine in check, taking it beyond quaffable and fun and into the realm of, well, serious. For the past couple of vintages, winemaker John Skupny has been sourcing fruit for this wine from the North Coast AVA, more specifically Lake County, rather than from Napa where he had sourced previously. Lake County has been coming up a lot lately, which makes sense since the land and fruit there are much more affordable than that of Napa Valley. And of course, the fact that Lang & Reed has remained at a great price point makes the wine even more lovable.
Right now I'm pouring the 2007 vintage by the glass at Lucques and Tavern, where I also sell the wine retail in the Larder. I'll be moving into the 2008 any day!!