Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Updated Review: *** $$ Chateau Franc-Cardinal Cotes de Bordeaux Francs, France, 2007/2008


By way of background, opening thoughts: This will look like a puzzle.  Here we have comparable wines from two adjacent years, 2007 and 2008, but look at the labels:  Both say Chateau Franc-Cardinal, but the confusion begins with the region.  The first says Bordeaux - Cotes de Francs, the second Francs - Cotes de Bordeaux.  Hunh?  Well, in fact Cotes de Bordeaux Francs is the name for wines made from three French villages at the eastern edge of Bordeaux.  And indeed they formerly took the name Cotes de Francs.  In addition to Francs, the other two villages are Tayac and Saint-Cibard.  So, mystery solved... on to the wines!

Both of these vintages are imported by Barclay's Wine, which provided the review sample from its online collection.



Original tasting and review , December, 2011: This is Chateau Franc-Cardinal Bordeaux Cotes de Francs, 2007, finished at 13.% alcohol.  It is a blend of 72% merlot, 24% cabernet franc and 4% malbec.

In the glass: Deep magenta/purple, almost opaque in the middle of the glass. 

On the nose: Poured cool with a brief decant and swirled vigorously, shows deep and bloody fruit, hints of old world and oak.  From the aroma, seems like this will be balanced and tangy.

On the palate: The primary elements on the palate are in fact sweet, balanced, chewy and flavorful, bringing some sandiness from the tannins along with crisp, taut, classic blackberry fruit. Hints of tobacco and milk chocolate come in as the sip fades.

In summary: Overall, rates three stars on the five-star Spirit of Wine scale.

Following long decant, two full days kept cool in partially filled bottle:  Aromas of purple perfumed fruit.  Lightly sweet fruit and tannins make up the sip now.  Jaw-clenching as the finish fades, due to its solid tannin structure.
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Updated review, over two years later, January, 2014:  Very consistent old-world notes. The tannins, tobacco and milk come across as a sleeker blend now.  Bright acids.  Remains at three stars.   Held up very well to seven years of age since vintage date.

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Original tasting and review December, 2011: This is Chateau Franc-Cardinal Francs Cotes de Bordeaux, 2008, finished at 13.5% alcohol.  Like the 2007, it is a blend of 72% merlot, 24% cabernet franc and 4% malbec.

In the glass: Blood red deep magenta.

On the nose: Poured cool with a brief decant and swirled vigorously, shows sweet highlights on deep blackberry fruit.  From the aroma, seems like this will be fruity and bright.

On the palate: The primary elements on the palate are in fact light and colorful flavors on the mid-palate, showing both red berries and blackberry fruit.  The sip moves into your cheeks more with acids than tannins, but there is a noticeable "clench" of tannins as the finish fades. 

In summary: Overall, also rates three stars on the five-star Spirit of Wine scale.  As with many old-world offerings, really will show its best with appropriate food pairings.  Rating will likely benefit from additional decanting and/or aging time as well.

Following long decant, two full days kept cool in partially filled bottle:  Aromatic blackberry on the nose.  All mineral now on the palate - interestingly the fruit has almost faded. 
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Updated review, over two years later, January, 2014:  A bit darker in the glass than the 2007, with the nose moving more towards a merlot-based plum fruit.  Blackberry fruit on the palate, with surrounding tannins and acids.  More fruit than 2007, less sleek.  May actually age towards oxidation a bit quicker.

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