Friday, May 26, 2017

Cabernet Franc Blind Tasting, at Phil dans ta Cave

Bunch of Cab Franc, © Wikipedia
Ten members of the Club met today at Phil dans ta Cave for an exclusive blind tasting of Cabernet Franc wines. A good way to end the week on this Friday evening, 26th May.

After an aperitif of Burgundy white, while waiting for everyone to arrive, we tasted three sets of three cab francs each, for a total of nine bottles.

Each set was prepared in carafes by Jonathan Smets, who was the only one to know the content. Each set was composed of two Loire Cab francs and one each from Italy, Hungary and Argentina, but we did not know which until the end of the tasting.

All of the above was accompanied by bread and tasty snacks. Wines were scored using the A.I.S. system.

Below is a summary by Marco Carnovale of some of the comments in the room, followed by his scores and (in brackets) the average score from the group.

Thank you to Phil and Jonathan of Phil dans ta Cave for hosting us. See the page "Friendly suppliers" in this blog to contact them and benefit for special discounts and receive invitations to tastings and sales as a member of the Brussels Wine Club. Contact us to join for free.

Here is a useful template from Winefolly to introduce Cab Franc.


1987 Guffens Clos des Petits Croux (magnum). 100% Chardonnay from Burgundy.

An amazing wine which never ceases to surprise. Excellent consistency, but incredible freshness at 30 years-old. Complex aromas of ripe apricots, caramel, whisky. Perfectly balanced and very long. A harmonious wine, probably at its peak, but one would probably have said the same thing ten years ago. Score 95 (95). Price: 75 Eur (if you can find it).


2015 Magipiro Az agricola Siciliano. Light ruby, moderate consistency, maybe a bit of nail polish. Barely balanced, some residual sugar. Score 78 (74). Ranking today: 9/9. Price: Eur 29.

2014 Y Amirault Saint Nicolas des Bourgueil Les Malgagnes. Green pepper, moderate balance, hard sensations prevail but not aggressive. Body and acidity promise a good evolution. Score 88 (85). Ranking today 2/9. Price: Eur 25.

2010 Philippe Alliet Chinon Vieilles Vignes A bit less freshness than previous wine, but otherwise similar. Typical Cab franc. Score 88 (83), Ranking today 3/9. Price: 18.


2011 Philippe Alliet, Coteau de Noire Deep ruby intense and complex. Explosive raspberry and plum, perfect balance of full body and prominent freshness. Ready but will deliver for several more years. A harmonious wine. Score 94 (90). Ranking today 1/9. Price 28 Eur.

2013 Don Balthazar (Argentina),  The previous wine was a hard act to follow. This is a good cab franc with moderate potential. Good value for the money if your budget is limited. Score 86 (82). Ranking today 5/9. Price Eur 11.

2010 Baudry Chinon Les grezeaux, we step down a bit again from previous wine. Bitterish cherry. Moderate balance and length.  Score 84 (82). Ranking today 6/9. Price 18 Eur.


2012 Malatinszky "Noblesse Cabernet Franc" (Hungary). Exuberant alcohol overpowers a pleasant sour cherry jam. Moderate balance, body and length. Score 78 (82). Ranking 4/9. Price: Eur 24.

2010 Clos Rougeard Saumur Champigny  A relatively plump wine, but lacks acidity. Mature. The most expensive wine of the evening, it did not really perform as one would have expected. Score 84 (81). Rank today 7/9. Eur 100+.

2012 Baudry Croix Boissée. Well known to most participants the 1st wine by Baudry was a bit of a disappointment, did not shine as expected. I found it aggressive, only moderately balanced while in the past I have several times ranked it as one of the best cab franc in Loire. Maybe it just needs time. Maybe I was just tired at the end of the evening!! Score 78 (80). Ranking today 8/9. Eur 28.

BONUS WINE (Thanks Jon!) 2008 Joguet, Clos de la Dioterie. Quite distinctive cab franc, ready now with its peak probably a few years ahead of us. Score 86. About 20 Eur.


1. Cab franc is a difficult varietal but can give great pleasure by itself, and not necessarily in blends with its son cab sauvignon, merlot or others. Few regions of the world try to make 100% cab franc, too bad. Even Cheval Blanc blends a bit of merlot.

2. It is not necessary to spend a fortune to get a good cab franc, in the 20-30 eur range there are great products.

3. Loire is still top, but Hungary and Argentina have interesting offers. We'll try Slovenia and others soon. Italy disappointed this time.

4. This varietal needs time, no point trying to hurry up. Give it ten years, more for a 85+ wine.

You can buy all of this wines with our members' discount of 10% at Phil dan ta cave, see page on friendly wine suppliers on this blog.