Often considered Cabernet Sauvignon’s ugly stepsister, early-ripening Cabernet Franc nonetheless yields some terrific medium-bodied reds.
Vineland Estates Cabernet Franc 2010, $12.95
Backing onto the Niagara Escarpment, Vineland is owned by B.C. brothers Allan and Brian Schmidt. Try this Cab Franc with eggplant parmigiano.
Ponce notes: “The bouquet of red berries and cedar is like opening a pack of red licorice inside a sauna. Who says Niagara can’t make good, cheap reds?”
Trius Cabernet Franc 2010, $14.95
Launched in 1989 as a premium label of Hillebrand winery, Trius has long eclipsed its mothership as the face of the operation. Open with take-out barbecue chicken.
Ponce notes: “The nose offers strawberries, cassis, and spicy oak. All soft tannins and muted acid, and bursting with ripe fruit, it’s dressed for clubbing rather than dinner.”
Domaine de Pallus Chinon Les Pensées de Pallus 2009, $21.95
While France’s Loire Valley is known for its whites, the town of Chinon produces Cabernet Franc-–based reds and rosés. Save it for roast leg of lamb.
Ponce notes: “A perfume of ripe cherries and dried figs seduces you with its feminine wiles. On the palate, however, it reveals its man hands with flavours of black olive and pipe tobacco. A savoury wine, if you’re into that sort of thing.”
CORRECTION, OCT. 25, 2012: This article—as it appeared here and in the Oct. 25, 2012, print edition of The Grid—was originally published with the incorrect headline and introduction. They have been updated to the correct versions.