What makes a wine catch my attention?
That’s a great question. As a wine judge for the American Fine Wine Competition and others, it’s something that I look for every time I’m tasting a wine. I’m asking myself, “does this wine stand out?” To be quite honest, the usual answer is “no.” It’s true that there are many good wines out there. Plenty of them are drinkable–even more than once! Lots of wines are average. That’s not a hard category to fit into these days. However, fewer wines are great and even fewer than that are outstanding. And that’s OK. We don’t need a wine world full of outstanding wines. There’s a whole market out there for average wine drinkers who are perfectly happy drinking loads of average wines.
When I receive samples, I do try to taste them in a timely fashion, but it’s true that some get lost in the wine fridge and are visited months later. This is not a bad thing (PR folks). It’s often these “sleeper samples” that stand out the most to me.
One of these bottles on the back row of its drawer caught my attention recently, and I decided it was time to give it a try. Mind you, I tasted it without looking up the price or any ratings, etc…
As much as possible, I try to taste the wines “blind.” Not as in the traditional blind, but more like without outside influence and with as little information as possible. I don’t want to be swayed in my opinion by reviews online or what Vivino says.
This particular wine absolutely caught my attention. I knew (from the label) that it was a Napa Valley Cabernet Franc from 2015, but that’s about where the information stopped. I had not heard of Sosie before being contacted by their PR rep, so this was a new-to-me wine.
From my first whiff and taste, I was in love! Wow! What an elegant Napa Cabernet Franc.
Full disclosure, I’m a big fan of Cab Franc in general. I had a wonderful taste of a Virginia Cab Franc from Barboursville this past week that really excited me. I love the just barely ripe green spiciness of the grape, so I don’t necessarily always need a fruit-bomb in my face.
Sosie was a more fruit-oriented Cab Franc than I traditionally gravitate toward, but it was just lovely. The fruitier notes, which included black cherries, plums, and blackberries, perfectly balanced with well-integrated tannins, which can be difficult with this variety, as I experienced this past year judging the American Fine Wine Competition. There are plenty of American Cab Francs out there, but balanced integration of the fruit, tannins, and Cab Franc’s signature subtle spiciness seems to be a challenge. Despite being a higher alcohol wine (14.9%), this element was not overpowering in the mix either.
Overall, the Sosie Cabernet Franc was such a superb expression of this variety with fruit and spice and just the right amount of grip, and it kept getting better as time passed. My suggestion would be to decant (I did not), and let the wine open up a bit. I can only imagine that this would add even more complexity to an already tantalizing wine.
100% Cabernet Franc
4 Barrels Produced
21 months, 50% New Oak