California Cabernet - Franc That Is (As Always - Tastings Are Free)
It all came together quite fatefully for this week's wine. I had just hired Alexandra, you'll be seeing here full-time, who had been referred to me by one of my sales reps. That same rep called me yesterday to say that she had just a few cases of Bebame El Dorado County Red 2011 to sell as it was appearing in Eric Asimov's wine column in The New York Times this Wednesday as one of his "20 Autumn Wines for $20". The rep knew I had always admired this wine, but there is so little made I knew I could never keep it consistently in the store, plus Cabernet Franc, despite it being a major component of Cheval Blanc (one of the most expensive wines on the planet) and many other Bordeaux, is just not that well-known a grape My rep went on to tell me that Alex loved this wine, and had bought some for herself when working at her previous job. So, how could this not be the wine of the week?
Bebame El Dorado County Red 2011 - freshness is the hallmark here, a quality not thought of as being a strong suit of California wines, low (12%) alcohol, again, something not often seen in CA wines. Fresh, light red fruit notes with an underlying streak of herbs and pepper, but not so herbal as to get in the way of the fruit, a common flaw with Cabernet Franc. A bit of Gamay Noir is thrown in to invigorate and offer some fine acidity.
Retailing as The Times says for $20.00, we'll have it marked down to $18.00 (best price in town per Wine Searcher) for today and tomorrow (Tuesday 10/23 and Wednesday 10/24). Come by either day after 5:00 to taste - the price goes up to $20.00 on Thursday.
to purchase so you don't miss out.
Bebame is a collaboration between Don Heistuman and Steve Edmunds two pretty well known and respected eccentrics in the CA wine scene. Bebame is a Spanish word that means "drink me" as inspired by the bottle of shrinking potion Alice drinks in Alice in Wonderland.
I couldn't say it better than the winemakers, so here is what they have to say:
"We love transparent, delicious, easy, characterful, and deeply flavorful wines that are finely structured and relatively low in alcohol: Chinon, Bourgeuil, Beaujolais, Mondeuse, Marzemino, Lagrein, Barbera, Albarino, Vermentino, Txakolina . . . . you get the idea. What we don't understand is why this style
of wine is rarely made in the New World. While there is a school of thought that says New World wine has to be richer, higher in alcohol, and riper, we don't buy it. We believe that if the grapes are planted on cool, appropriate sites, well-farmed, picked ripe at reasonable sugar levels, and truly minimally handled in the cellar, we can make just such wines without compromise in the New World."