Sunday, December 18, 2011

Elk Run Vineyards Cabernet Franc (2010)

I am still amazed, not only by the fact that Maryland has a wine movement, but also by the quality of the wines.  I never knew that Maryland had a budding wine movement.  My introduction to Maryland wine was with the Slate, which is an excellent blend produced by a local Maryland winery called Black Ankle Vineyards.  And, when I was recently strolling the aisles of a local grocery store, I came across the wines of another Maryland winery called Elk Run Vineyards.

Elk Run Vineyards is named after a local river, but the vineyards have a lot of history.  The winery is located on a pre-revolutionary farm in the Piedmont region near Frederick Maryland.  Elk Run has two vineyards ... the Liberty Tavern Vineyard and the Cold Friday Vineyard.  The name of the latter vineyard  comes from the description on a deed.  It is not just any deed, but the deed given by the King of England to Lord Baltimore.  The property on that deed is described as "Resurvey of Cold Friday," and, hence, the Cold Friday Vineyard.   

The old world also finds its way, not only into the names of the vineyards, but also in the practices of Elk Run's wines, including its Cabernet Franc.  The inspiration for this Cabernet Franc are the wines of Bordeaux, which stand in stark contrast to the Cabernet Franc wines found in the Loire Valley or other parts of France.    Bordeaux-style Cabernet Franc wines are fuller bodied wines with darker fruit both in the aroma and tastes.  The difference between a Bordeaux-style Cabernet Franc and a Chinon-style Cabernet Franc became very clear when I tasted this wine and the Domaine Gouron Chinon.  

The Elk Run Cabernet Franc pours a dark red, with aromas of dark fruit and minerality greeting the nose.  The winemaker describes this wine as having "rich raspberry and currant flavors, and a cassis nose with pungent, spicy and black olive like aromas."  I think the aromas are more mineral than spice, but that could just be my olfactory senses.  As for the tastes, the description is spot-on, definitely raspberry and current, along with dark cherry flavors.  

Like many Bordeaux-style wines, the Elk Run Cabernet Franc can be paired with red meat dishes, such as many of the dishes that I make as part of my Steak Nights.   This wine could also be paired with pork or chicken dishes, particularly if there are earthy ingredients, such as mushrooms, squash, and/or pumpkin.  If you want to pair this style of Cabernet Franc with a fish, tuna is probably the best option, but it would depend upon the other ingredients used in the recipe. 

This wine is available in local wine stores or grocery stores (you can check availability on the winery's website).  I found this wine at Roots Market in Olney, Maryland.  A bottle sells for $21.99.


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