We received the product for review and all opinions are our own.
Cabernet Franc, parent to the powerful Cabernet Sauvignon, makes for wines with distinction. Sturdy structure, modest tannins, and moderate acidity are all trademarks of this Bordeaux native. In Texas the grape is overall happy, especially in the Texas High Plains where the high altitude and warm days and cool nights prevail. In the Texas Hill Country, Cab Franc is right at home in our chalky limestone soils. The fruit in this particular wine comes from Cedar Crest Vineyards, just south of the Red River on the border of Texas and Oklahoma. The elevation is 619 feet MSL (mean sea level) with sandy loam soils.
Messina Hof has been producing Cabernet Franc for quite some time now, in fact it is one of their more popular and well known red wines. I tasted the 2014 vintage at their Hill Country tasting room and decided, although very young, this wine deserves a review and praise. Of all the wines I tasted that day, this was the one that really stood out to me as being world class and varietally correct. Now on to the nitty-gritty, shall we.
In the glass, the wine pours a deep garnet. The nose is tight upon first opening, but once it begins to develop in the glass, notes of bing cherries, raspberry, herbs, and gym socks jump into the air. What?! Gym socks? Those of you who are familiar with Cab Franc know exactly what I am talking about, and it is not an insult to the wine. The palate is chock full of red fruits and boot leather, with a really chalky and dusty mouthfeel, which is quite pleasant.
- Messina Hof Cabernet Franc, private reserve, double barrel, 2014 vintage
- Winemaker: Paul V. Bonarrigo
- Appellation: Texas, Cedar Crest Vineyards
- Grape Varieties: Cabernet Franc
- Barrels: 3 1/2 months in French oak, then 4 1/2 months in American oak
- Clarity/brightness: Clear/bright, with no detectable flaws and no evidence of gas or sediment
- Tannins: Medium
- Acidity: Medium plus
- Alcohol: Medium
- Finish: Medium minus
- Wine glass: Riedel Vinum, Bordeaux
- Alcohol by volume: 13.5%
- Retail price: $21.00 at time of review
As a whole, I consider this a solid wine. It behaves like a good Cab Franc should, and has so much more potential and room to grow. This wine is very young, so I recommend cellaring for a while, however I could happily drink it right now. The complexity is not there yet, but I am sure it will come with time. My only real complaint would be the wax seal over the cork. Wax is not a sommelier’s friend, although it can add a nice touch aesthetically.
Sip, savor, and enjoy my fellow aficionados.