Bock Villányi Cabernet Franc 2008


Wine making in Hungary dates back at least to the Romans and perhaps to the Celts. But, thanks to phylloxera and communism, it has been very much under the radar for decades. Thankfully, it is reemerging as a player in the wine market. If you think Hungarian wines are all about Tokaji and mass market Bull’s Blood, this offering from Bock will convince you otherwise.

The nose and palate loudly announce lots of ripe, dark, berry fruit highlighted by aromas of pencil shavings, which acquire charred notes once the slightly alcoholic nose dissipates. The oak (Hungarian naturally) is nicely done, providing a persistent but complementary background.

Despite the ripe fruit, this wine is neither heavy nor fleshy. It has a medium body with a supple, almost delicate mouthfeel supplemented by lovely fine-grained tannins on the medium length finish.

Poised and focused, with perfect balance and plenty of acidity to give it backbone, this is a stylish, immensely satisfying wine.

In the battle between old world and new world, Bock’s Cab Franc is planted right in between. Dark fruit and phenolic ripeness suggest new world approachability, and there is no hint of the vegetal character exhibited by some Loire Valley versions of this varietal. But the supple, graceful, mouthfeel is decidedly old world. This is a cab for pinot lovers, an affection to which I must confess.

Villányi is in Southwestern Hungary not far from the Croatian border with a Mediterranean climate and marl and limestone soil, which perhaps explains both the ripe fruit and supple body. It is primarily a red grape region. The Bock family has been making wine there since the 18th Century.

This wine along with many other Hungarian and Eastern European wines can be purchased online from Carpathian Wines.

Good: Ripe flavors and supple mouthfeel

Bad: The attack has a bit too much alcohol on the nose though it quickly dissipates

Distinctive: A unique interpretation of Cabernet Franc, an underappreciated grape from an underappreciated wine region.

Price: $30

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