Cabernet Franc doesn’t do backup. Though it sings off the Gironde River’s right bank, a starlet in many Bordeaux blends, it is often perceived as the faithful, blending grape. Cabernet Franc, however, is grown in wine regions worldwide, offering versatile style, ranging from breathy, gypsy-herb tones, psychedelic fruit and spice and even crescendoing sweetness.
This romantic season, as spring looms on the horizon, we hope INDULGE’s Cab Franc playlist will put a spell on you.
1. 2015 Domaine des Ouches Igoranda
This wine is like walking through downtown Miami’s bouquet of crushed bay seashells and wafting cement dust, Michael Nyman’s dichotomous Little Impulse looping on your headset. After an hour, fresh fennel and rosemary emerge, and on the palate, strawberry and red currant play through an orchestral finish of lemon rind, freshly chopped garlic and shallots. $11; beckywasserman.com.
2. 2015 La Montecchia Godimondo
An atypical rhythm from the region that gives us Prosecco and Ripasso, this wine offers red cherry, red currant and lime rind on the palate while pencil shavings, storage lint, eucalyptus and oregano notes twirl around the olfactory bulb like Stevie Nicks in her Gypsy video. $28; Wine by the Bay, 6942 Northeast Fourth Avenue, Little Haiti; 305-455-9791; winebtb.com.
3. 2015 Robert Mondavi Winery Oakville
A hot-blooded Napa red, this wine might become one of your Bad Habits, like Maxwell sings. After the wine disrobes slowly in the glass, black currant, blackberry, almond and licorice notes play through a cedar and turmeric finish with tannins as gripping as, well, making up, Maxwell-style. $65; robertmondaviwinery.com.
4. 2017 Inniskillin Icewine ($99.95 half bottle)
What do you get from frozen Cabernet Franc grapes harvested during Canada’s winter months? Wine the color of a fiery, Miami sunset and guarapo (or sugarcane juice) on the nose and palate. Chilled, there’s more guarapo, apricots, candied Opal apples and Girl from Ipanema dipped in Amy Winehouse’s sadistically sweet voice. $100 half bottle; inniskillin.com.
5. 2010 Chateau Trotte Vieille
A blend of 58 percent Cabernet Franc and 42 percent Merlot, this wine, like Nina Simone, will put a spell on you, luring your senses to a roadside jerk pit, the sweet perfume of roasting, dripping pork skin mingling with charred earth. The nose also offers charcuterie and pâtè then fresh rosemary and fennel. Black cherry compote, tarragon and clove flavors dance through a dirty drawl-mouthfeel, finishing in a psychedelic howl of garlic, spearmint and eucalyptus. $139; El Carajo, 2465 Southwest 17th Avenue, Miami; 305-856-2424; el-carajo.com.\u0009