Cabernet Sauvignon is probably the most famous red varietal in the world, so much so that if you were to walk into any bar and say, "I'll have a cab," the bartender will assume you mean Cabernet Sauvignon and act accordingly. These days, however, another cab is being called more frequently by wine connoisseurs : Cabernet Franc, one of the original Bordeaux blending grapes used to make that region's great clarets, is softer, less tannic and more fruit-forward than its offspring. Like Pinot Noir, Cab Franc thrives in slightly cooler climates, such as the Loire Valley, Washington state, and the High Valley AVA region north of San Francisco. Once used almost exclusively for blending , this delightful grape is being planted and bottled more and more for the appreciation of wine drinkers as a standalone varietal.
Times Ten Cellars has set up shop in the old Lakewood Post Office and has expanded its operations to include a seven-days-a-week tasting room, a Fort Worth branch, live music and a superb line of wines. One of the standouts of a recent tasting I attended there was the Limited Release Cabernet Franc High Valley, made from grapes sourced from the California AVA and not the winery's own Cathedral Mountain Vineyard in Alpine.
In the tasting glass, Times Ten's Cabernet Franc sports a deep plum color with cherry highlights. Lots of vanilla, smoke, and oak on the nose, with touches of lavender and violet. Raspberries, cherries and berries are evident in the taste, plus decided touches of pipe tobacco and leather that grow more pronounced with each sip. This Cab Franc would pair well with spicy food, cheese and all manner of hearty red meats. Times Ten Cellars Dallas facility features comfy couches for lingering, plus an expansive patio, so there is plenty of room, and you can order dips or meat and cheese plates to munch. Or if you like, such local restaurants as Nandina Asian Tapas and Café Izmir Deli will deliver more substantial fare. Best of all, Il Cane Rosso Pizzas operates at Times Ten every Wednesday from 5 p.m. until they run out of dough. A perfect opportunity to match a Limited Release Cabernet Franc and a fresh Magherita pie.