Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Crocker & Starr 2008 Cabernet Franc, Napa Valley

Cabernet Franc is a parent grape of Cabernet Sauvignon (along with Sauvignon Blanc). This is one of our favorite red grapes and we may love it more than its offspring.

A Vintage Cabernet Franc Treat?

Occasionally the Green Dragon can be demanding. My wife got the nickname because she sometimes breathes fire – especially if she doesn’t have wine. “Do you have some wine to open?”

Well, of course I do. Although my wine collection is in a bit of disarray after our relocation to North Carolina this summer. In Ohio all my bottles were neatly organized into wine racks in the cellar (although the Dragon may dispute “neatly”). The bottles were all cataloged in Cellar Tracker.

In our new home there is no basement and, alas, no actual cellar. I’ve got a wine room, but the delivery of my wine fridge has been delayed. So at this point, the wine is mostly stacked in cartons. Heeding the call to action, I reached blindly into a box and pulled out this 2008 Crocker & Starr Cabernet Franc.

You Can’t Always Get What You Want

I bought the bottle at Zinful, when the wine bar was still located in Waterville, Ohio. They closed that location and were selling some appealing bottles at great discounts. I picked this one for $50, which was a savings of more than $10. It was good news all around because Zinful later opened in downtown Perrysburg and is doing exceedingly well.

Green Dragon and I wanted a premium Cab Franc experience. But the Stones nailed it when they sang, “you can’t always get what you want.”

Upon opening, the wine was fairly “hot” then settled down with swirling and a bit ‘o time. On the palate I was hoping for a revelation of flavor, but all the notes were muted – like a trumpet being played through a box of Kleenex. Up front there was a bit of earth and dust with an ultra-smooth texture.

The mid-palate had fading red berries. The finish was non-existent. It was like a skyrocket that fizzles on the launching pad.

Looking back at my notes, I see this had a drinking window through 2017. That’s only a guide, and many wines go well beyond their suggested “drink by” date. Not this one. While not spoiled or bad, it was simply unremarkable.

A 2014 or 2015 Cabernet Franc from the Finger Lakes or Ontario would have delivered Cab Franc goodness for less than half what I paid. This is a highly rated wine, so perhaps our bottle simply reached the end of its trail.


Hannah said...

Your experience with the 2008 Crocker & Starr Cab Franc was surprising to read about! I just had the 2008 at the winery's recent 'Carnivus' harvest party where it was served. Obviously the wine was stored immaculately, and it showed fresh and juicy and spicy and quite frankly, awesome. Sometimes getting a deal at a wine shop where there is not good light and temperature control can ruin a wine more quickly than a 70 degree cellar. Highly encourage you to try another bottle from a different retailer - or better yet...winery-direct!

Dave Nershi, CSW said...

Thanks, Hannah. I was expecting a great experience as well. I think the storage might not have been optimal, since one store was closing its location, perhaps something was out of kilter temperature or lighting-wise. I'll take your advice and look for another bottle. Cheers!