"With affection beaming out of one eye, and calculation shining out of the other." ~ Charles Dickens A quote from a "Tale of Two Cities" where in Mr. Dickens wonderful prose evocatively relates to the reader, a vivid comparison and contrast of two cities that had much more in common than either could have imagined.
So it is with that in mind that I want to dive into a comparison and contrast of two different vintages from the same producer. One has fawning approval from the folks over at WE, who have dubbed it an "Editors Choice" and the other is their "newly" released 2008 that is once more sporting the "crest" label and tossing aside the old familiar label with the grape-press.
I was sent a sample of the 2008 with the new label you see pictured above and I went out to my local Costco here in San Diego and picked-up [purchased for $17.99] the 2007 with the old label. I did so because I wanted to make a comparison and contrast of the two vintages; to draw a line of distinction between the highly touted 2007 and the yet to be reviewed 2008 [which you will see here first]. So yes, I'd say a scoop-alert is in progress; demonstrating once more the power of the New-Media versus the traditional glossy-mag folks.
I want preface this review by saying; I am a fan of Franciscan wines [overall] and have been for quite a while. When I started drinking wine [7 years ago], I started collecting labels from the bottles I loved, first up in my book was a 2004 Franciscan Estate, Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. Underneath the label I scrawled out a few unsophisticated notes about why this label made-the-cut to be in my wine scrap-book [geek-out]. This book is in part the genesis of how this blog got started in the first place, Yes, I still scrawl out unsophisticated notes and blather on and on about wine with the clickity-clack of the keyboard and a snapshot instead of scraping labels [ok, sometime I still do that].
In today's review spotlight is the 2007 & 2008 Franciscan Estate Cabernet Sauvignon:
2007 Franciscan Estate Cabernet Sauvignon: I popped the cork on this wine last night and decanted for a hour or so before giving it a swirl. This wine is still pretty tight even after decanting. Great garnet color like my old 82nd ABN beret. The nose is mostly muted except for some earthy tones and dark plum aromas. The wine has great structure, it's a bit austere at the moment, but you really get a sense of how much finesse is ready to be unleashed for those who are patient. You do get the typical earthy, pencil lead, dark cherry, black berry and a load of ripe plum flavors. But the finish is a bit shorter than I anticipated. I think you should lay it down for 6 months to a year. The WE score was 94, but my score would be a solid 90 points. I just was not as wowed as I thought I would be. This wine can be purchased at your local Costco.
2008 Franciscan Estate Cabernet Sauvignon: This is the wine I received as a sample for the review process. The one thing that was surprising to me is that both wines have the identical ABV percentage. Both wines are blended with 13-14 percent of Merlot and spent the same time in oak. But where the difference lies for me between the two is that the 2008 has a bright beam of red cherries, cocoa, rich earth, fresh leather and a shot of tar, leading to a plush finish. The folks I shared it with thought, "oh-wow great juice" [I concur]. I also decanted this wine in the same decanter as the 2007 for about hour or so. One other difference; the 2008 has just a drop of Cab-Franc, while the 2007 does not. This wine also has great structure and will improve with some aging [don't go crazy] but why lay it down as it's drinking rather fab right now. Goes great with grilled meats [NY Strip] or perfect for a burger and fries night while watching classically bad B-movies. My score for this wine is 92 points and gets my coveted drink now and drink often recommendation. This wines SRP is $27 and it looks like the folks at Bevmo have the 08 in stock for $22, but they still have the old label pictured. I would call to make sure.
So that's all I got for you today, if you have had both vintages and would like to comment below, it would be great to hear from you, until then sip long and prosper, cheers!