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A $6.99 Cali Cab Franc from Trader Joe's: Lightning in a Bottle?

Monday, September 5, 2011

"I've come to never expect greatness from a Cab Franc, and this one's no exception."
-Miles in Sideways

I stopped in at Trader Joe's the other day to see if they had any new interesting wines. The Gypsy and Lost Sonnet were long gone but they still had some Cocobon. I spotted a new wine in an interesting looking bottle - the 2010 Lazy Bones Paso Robles Cabernet Franc.

I've been doing a lot of LIFO drinking lately - last bottle in is the first out. I've got about 250 bottles on hand here but like cable television it sometimes seems like I'm not in the mood for any of them. Maybe that's because I'm thinking of new releases to write about here on the blog. Maybe it's because I'm looking for juicy delicious daily drinkers.

Who knows for sure, but I was interested in this Lazy Bones Cab Franc for two reasons:

First, I remember trying a Chimney Rock Napa Cab Franc about 10 years ago and really liking it. I also liked McKenzie-Mueller's Cab Franc, but both were kind of pricey ($30-$50 if I recall correctly). I liked the idea of revisiting this grape at the $6.99 price point.

Second, I remembered the line in Sideways quoted above where Miles expresses his lack of enthusiasm for Cab Franc. It's not as famous as his line about Merlot but given that he says it when in a Santa Ynez tasting room (I think it's Kalyra) I thought tasting this affordable Cab Franc from not-too-far-away Paso Robles would be interesting.

Along with Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petit Verdot, Malbec and Carmenere, Cabernet Franc is one of the six Bordeaux grape varieties. It's primarily a blending grape but most successfully produced as a single varietal wine in Chinon from France's Loire Valley. We also see it produced in the northeastern United States a bit. When it struggles it's because of overly vegetal aromas and/or extreme barnyard funk. When it's done well it can be beautiful.

What a build-up, right? I may have found lightning in a bottle! Unfortunately, the Lazy Bones was hard to get through. A single glass dumper-outer.

2010 Lazy Bones Cabernet Franc
$6.99
13.6% Alcohol

This stuff is pretty awful. Stewy aromas with a watery transparent mid-palate. Even worse the second day. Avoid.

62/100 WWP: Not Recommended

That's not to say you can't find a great bottle of wine at Trader Joe's. Here's one I found for $5.99 I've been enjoying again and again. It even stood up under a stopper over the course of three nights. It displays characteristics I more readily associate with wines costing $30 and up. It's from Italy and it's readily available. I think the 2009 has come around and is drinking nicely. Check it out.

Question of the Day: Any recent discoveries in your local Trader Joe's?

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