Is it just us or is the only thing stopping a revolution spearheaded by this grape variety the sad lack of plantings? Cabernet Franc seems to do so well in Mendoza, ripening beautifully and harnessing so well those classic characteristics - ripe red fruits, bell peppers, maybe a touch of graphite, and silky tannins. Early signs also show that it is likely to be much more reliable from vintage to vintage than its counterparts in the Loire, and thus plantings are increasing rapidly. This gorgeous example from Benegas is one of the "bigger" examples on offer, with plenty of depth to the dark fruit character and a sensible, judicious use of oak.
Varietal composition: 100% Cabernet Franc.
Grapes origin: Grapes from Finca Libertad, Mendoza Upper River Bank (850 meters above sea level; 2800 ft), Cruz de Piedra, Maipu, Mendoza. Mixture of young vineyards descended from the ancient vineyards planted by Tiburcio Benegas in 1888.
Harvest time: Last week of April.
Winemaking process: Prefermentative cold maceration. Fermentation in tank at 25°C (77°F). Post fermentative maceration for two weeks. Racking and natural malolactic fermentation.
Ageing: 8 to 10 months in French oak barrels.
Acidity: 4.94 gr/lt.
Colour: Ruby red colour with brownish edges. Medium intensity.
Nose: Herbaceous at the entrances, with fresh and complex aromas of red fruits such as currants, raspberries and plums.
Mouth: Elegant at the entrance; meaty in the mid palate with friendly ripe and round tannins. Long and silky finish.
Ageing capacity: 8 years.
Drinking temperature: Between 15°C-17°C (59°F-63°F).
Food pairing: Excellent to accompany dishes of Italian or Greek food, Tomato sauces, gourmet pizzas, various grilled meats, poultry, duck and lamb with fine herbs.