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Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Franc the Tanc

(Cross-posted at Grape and Grain)

In the movie Old School, Frank "The Tank" Ricard is in the inner sanctum of cool, being one of the three people responsible for founding the fraternity of misfits whose antics drive the film's plot (and most of the gags). Nevertheless, Frank--who's lots of fun but lacks solidity of character (to say the least; that's like saying NW Ohio lacks mountains)--continually takes a back seat to the other two members of the inner sanctum: the staid, reliable Mitch and the boldly charismatic entrepreneur Beanie. But, by the end of the movie, Frank has been given a few chances to shine on his own. Sure, he may not always come through, shooting himself in the neck with a tranquilizer gun or setting himself on fire while dressed in a cougar suit. But every once in a while, he rises to the occasion, stunning critics with a heartfelt rhythmic ballet routine or mystically channeling his inner wonk to school James Carville in the finer points of U.S. biotech policy.

So it is with Cabernet Franc. Like Frank, Franc is also in an inner sanctum, being one of the three indispensable red grapes of Bordeaux. (We'll leave number four, Petit Verdot, for another post.) And, like Frank, Franc always takes a back seat to its two friends, the staid, reliable Merlot and the boldly charismatic Cabernet Sauvignon. After all, when's the last time you had a glass of Cab Franc? Compare that to the last Cab Sauv or Merlot you've had, and you'll likely get the point. And there's no doubt that Cab Franc, on its own, sometimes lacks solidity of character, perhaps showing flashes--or should I say streaks--of brilliance but not able to sustain a full, developed flavor arc, which is what makes it such a good blending wine. (That may also be what makes the grape insecure and prone to saying things like, "Took the restrictor plate off to give the Red Dragon a little more juice. But it's not exactly street legal, so keep it on the down low"). But every once in awhile, it truly sings on its own, with supple fruit, deep, seductive earth and leather notes, and an intriguing floral quality that places it among the most irresistable wines you're likely to come across. And when that happens, there's only one term to describe drinking such a wine. Yep, you guessed it: old school.

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At 9:00 AM, Blogger bdegenaro said...

this sounds like a JAC article in the making.

At 10:30 AM, Blogger Lance said...

I was thinking Rhetoric Review:


Ethos-Beanie-Cab Sauv


(Poor pathos. Always getting the short end of the stick.)


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