This week's "What We Drank" is a little heavy on cabernet franc, but that's no real surprise with the franc fanatics on the team.
Here's what our editors and contributors have been drinking.
It's none of the above.
At this point of its life it's giving up ripe black cherry and blackberry aromas with a hint of red apple skin that I sometimes find in Loire reds from warmer vintages. It's luscious in the mouth and simply rustic enough to be interesting.
The store seems to buy this wine or similar versions of it from more specific appellations every year. This one obviously doesn't look attractive to the average customer so it went from $12 to $6 and Im not complaining.
I'm having it with soppressata, olives and fontina while I write.
Evan Dawson: Domaine des Ouches 2005 Bourgueil
The best value is still coming in waves from the Loire Valley, and the world's best cabernet franc is available for insultingly low prices. I picked up this bottle for $18.
More libations found themselves in contention for this week's WWD entry than the norm. I could have written about the Hermann J. Wiemer 2008 Riesling Reserve Dry I uncorked with Nena to celebrate the news that we're having a little girl in December. Or maybe the Roanoke Vineyards 2003 Blend Two that we opened together with friends the next night. And of course there were all of the Virginia wines and Georgia beers I tasted during the 2011 Wine Bloggers Conference.
Once I saw that two of my fellow fellow editors were writing about non-local cabernet franc, I couldn't help but join in the fun with this Virginia bag-in-box cab franc made by Michael Shaps.
I think you'll hear more about Virginia cabernet franc in years to come -- it shows good potential; more in a Bordeaux style versus a Loire one. Many I tasted showed too much oak (often American) for my tastes, but one of the wines of the wines that intrigued me the most was this Virginia Wineworks 2009 Cabernet Franc.
While no where near the most complex or age-worthy red I tasted down there, it's $30 for the equivalent of four standard 750ml bottle, it's a great value with nice dark fruit, subtle oak character and just a bit of that earthy spice franc lovers crave. If it were winter, a box of this would have come home with me and it'd be on my counter right now.
Tales of this town's beer prowess having reached my ears all the way up north in Buffalo, I made a point of drinking almost exclusively local/NC brews during my four-day stay. (Almost. A Hanssen's Oudbeitje strawberry lambic at Thirsty Monk, one of my top five lifetime beer experiences, was the sole exception. I'm not apologizing.) I never ceased to be impressed. From my first pint, a crisp and refreshing French Broad kolsch at Bier Garden, to a final day of beer euphoria at the amazing Wedge Brewing Company culminating in one of the best pilsners I've ever had, I left this town amazed by the overwhelming diversity and quality of its beer culture.
Highlights included Green Man ESB, IPA and Porter; Asheville Brewing Company's Fire Escape jalapeno pale ale (really!) with a slice of jalapeno pizza; Highland Stout with Highland Stout cake at French Broad Chocolate Lounge; and a saison that seriously rocked my world at Wedge.
Wedge itself, a middle-of-nowhere brewery with a patio decor made up of used car parts, was no joke, with a killer saison that was incredibly funky, sour and delicious; a complex and roasty barleywine; and a truly addictive pilsner made in the traditional Czech style with a little bit of skunk and a whole lot of flavor.
People of Asheville: I apologize for the beer shortage that may have resulted from my presence. I'll bring wine next time.
Mark Grimaldi: Pannonhalmi Apatsagi 2010 Rosé
During the summer it's all about rosé for me and my wife. We drink A LOT of it. We usually steer towards Provencal, Italian and Long Island. But recently I picked up a few from other countries.
We had some friends in town last Saturday and decided to head down to the beach. I grabbed a bottle of 2010 Pannonhalmi Apatsagi Rosé from Hungary. I've had their whites plenty of times, and they are always delicious.
The winery is actually a monastery that has been making wine since the 900s, but during WWII they were taken over by communists and were not allowed to continue their traditions. fter the fall of the regime the monks were able to revive their centuries-old winemaking traditions and with some help from a Tuscan winery.
The rosé is 50% pinot noir with the remainder equal parts merlot and cabernet franc and shows a beautiful darker salmon color.
The nose was fresh and explosive with red fruit notes and pretty aromatics. The palate was full and almost creamy with a great boost of acidity to cut through the fruit at the back end. It paired perfectly with our Kunik cheeses, salami and salty air.