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It is always a tricky matter to judge when to open an aged wine. Too soon and the wine may not have developed the bouquet that makes aged wines special; too late and the wine’s fruit may have begun to fade. Given that only about 5% of wines are designed to improve in the bottle, aging wine is a crap shoot. So it is useful to read progress reports on how a particular wine is showing.

I wasn’t entirely surprised to find this 2005 Cabernet Franc from Monterey County at its peak. Cabernet Franc typically ages well. And, although Monterey County is best known for its chardonnay and pinot noir, Bordeaux varietals should do well there—especially Cab Franc which likes cooler regions such as the Loire Valley in France where it is a signature grape.

The color is still a deep purple with no signs of oxidation. This is a deeply concentrated wine but still refreshing; the mid-palate is so fetching you want it to linger forever. The nose of very dark plum is sharing the stage with some smoke and tar. Hints of caramel and subtle olive notes set off the plum on the palate. An oak bed is beginning to show in the background. The tannins are drying and just starting to soften but there is still plenty of juice to carry through the medium length finish. Alcohol is on the high side at 15.1 but there is no discernable heat. I found this wine to be a bit static with the flavors remaining relatively fixed through the tasting experience. But this is a lovely, well-made wine with plenty of time on its hands. It has improved markedly in the bottle.

Storage conditions were good but not ideal with average temps in the low 60’s with modest fluctuations. Thus, the wine might be a bit advanced. Opened 3/2012

Good: Complex bouquet and improvement in the bottle

Bad: Lack of movement on the palate

Distinctive: Very concentrated for a Cab Franc

Sold for around $25.00

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