Tinhorn Creek Vineyards is just releasing
its first Cabernet Franc under its Oldfield Series, or reserve, designation.
This is the winery’s eighth wine to get the
Oldfield Series designation. The other seven are Syrah, Merlot, Pinot Noir,
2Bench Red, 2Bench White, 2Bench Rosé and Kerner Icewine.
When I tasted the Cabernet Franc, I wonder
what took the winery so long. This is a terrific red. Tinhorn Creek has been
making Cabernet Franc for years in its “regular” portfolio and there were
plenty of vintages when the quality of that varietal at least rivalled Merlot.
I assume Merlot got its Oldfield Series tag
much sooner (a decade ago!) because Merlot has been more popular with
consumers. In recent years, however, consumers have been discovering how good
Okanagan and Similkameen Cabernet Franc can be.
When Okanagan vineyards were being
replanted in the 1990s, many producers chose to plant Cabernet Franc because it
is supposed to ripen a week or so earlier than Cabernet Sauvignon. When the
vines started producing, most wineries just used Cabernet Franc in blends. There
have not been nearly as many champions of Cabernet Franc as there were of
Merlot or Cabernet Sauvignon.
Tinhorn Creek was among the handful that always
made a varietal Cabernet Franc, possibly because Sandra Oldfield, the winemaker
here, had started her career in the California
wine industry when straight varietals were common.
The grapes for this 2010 Oldfield Series
Cabernet Franc came from a 15-year-old block in the winery’s Diamondback
Vineyard on Black Sage Road.
The 2010 vintage was a cool vintage with a long fall. These grapes, however,
were so ripe when picked on October 21 that the resulting wine has 14.6%
alcohol. The wine, which was barrel-aged for 12 months and bottle-aged for
another nine months, has so much texture that the alcohol is not noticeable.
This excellent wine is available at the
winery and at the winery’s restaurant.
Here are my notes.
Selection Cabernet France 2010 ($34.99 for 374
cases). It begins with appealing aromas
of vanilla, plum, black berry and black currants. There is a satisfying gob of
sweet berry flavours on the palate – flavours of blackberry, raspberry, spice
and tobacco. The finish just won’t quit. The wine is drinking well now but will
age well for another seven years. 93.