Moon Mountain Cabernet Franc – Delightful

My first pick from the Moon Mountain Vineyard Finest 2006 Reds Sample Case was a Cabernet Franc Estate Grown 2006 from Sonoma Valley.  I have never tried a Cabernet Franc by itself as I’ve always enjoyed the varietal blended in with a nice bordeaux.  I was extremely excited to open this bottle and was VERY pleasantly surprised!  The verdict – an amazing sipping wine that is casual yet very elegant in taste with it’s smooth finish and very luscious berries. Apologies for using the word “luscious” too often in this post however, it is the perfect word to describes the dark fruits that make up the taste of this wine.  Cab Franc – a great start to my exploration of Moon Mountain reds!


Smells of darker fruits plums, blackberries, and violets. In taste, plum, blackberry, smooth with tannins, very smooth mouthfeel. The luscious fruits most definitely stand out in this evenly complex wine. A very nice wine that you could sip on for hours.

Compared to a Cabernet Sauvignon, Franc has a slightly less tannic taste and tends to be much smoother.  Cabernet Sauvignon’s usually have a stronger finish with a much bolder taste.  Franc adds a nice balance of fruit and has that bold taste that is not too overpowering.

Notes from Wine Maker Carol Wilson:

High on the rugged Sonoma side of Mount Veeder, our volcanic soils, warm sun and cooling nighttime breezes are ideal for Bordeaux-style varietals.  They develop rich, complex flavors and deep color.  Cabernet Franc is ideally suited for out rocky hillside Estate Vineyard.  In the bright sunlight above the fog-shrouded valley, struggling mountain vines concentrate the ripe luscious flavors of each precious cluster.  We farm our Estate vineyard with intensive methods, producing the purest fruit to organic standards.

Wine Essentials – Class #2 – FRANCE

Wine Essentials # two was all about the Burgundy and the Bordeaux regions in France one of the most elegant yet complicated winemaking regions out there. Here are a few fun facts that will be helpful when navigating through France bottles in your store…

Wines are classified in four categories governed by very specific laws which will help you pick your bottle out…

Classifications (Lowest quality first)

  • Vin de Table (Table wines – lowest classification)
  • Vin de Pays (must use specific grape varieties on the bottle; increasingly popular and rather cheap and perfect for daily-drinking wines)
  • AOVDQS (Smaller more regional areas – this classification has basically disappeared
  • AOC (Highest classification; name of origin which are controlled – rules cover grape-variety, methods of growth, producing, localization, alcohol contents)
Therefore, whenever you look for a French bottle the more specifics it has on the label the better quality the wine
Vineyard Ratings (rating in highest quality first)
  • Gran Cru -  wines are produced from the small number of the best vineyards in the Côte d’Or, that strictly abide by the AOC classification
  • Premiere Cru - wines are produced from specific vineyard sites that are still considered to be of high quality, but not as well regarded as the Grand Cru sites.
  • Unclassified – produced by a blend of wines from lesser vineyard sites
Bordeaux’s are almost always Cab Sauv, Cab Franc, Merlot (sometimes Malbec)

Tastings (wine’s I liked BOLDED)

Bordeaux, ‘Lillet Blonde’, NV.  - Retails $18 (Bordeaux Region) – Fortified

  • Notes: Orange, herby, stoney, honey scents; Sweet, Fresh, a little syrupy, orange, honey and bitter on the palate
  • Pairings: Savory salty foods, hard cheeses, anything with spicy mustard; great sipping wine before dinner

Entre Deux Mers, Blanc Reserve, Chateau Tour de Mirambeau 2009 – Retails $12 (Bordeaux Region)

  • Notes: Bright vibrant, lemon/lime in smell; Acidity, fresh mineral tasting, vibrant, attacks then goes away
  • Pairings: amazing with goat cheese, shell fish with herbs etc..

Chablis, 1er Premier Cru, Montmains, William Fevre 2006 – Retails $35 (Burgundy)

  • Notes: Smells fruity, heavy weight, earthy flavors ‘acidicly’ rich, smooth finish
  • Pairings: Aged goat cheese, roasted veal, salmon

Meursault Poruzots, Premier Cru, Louis Jadot 2005. – Retails $60 (Chardonnay; Cotes de Beaune, France)

  • Notes: Earthy, smokey, aged oak in smell; calm acidity, bitter, tannins, bitter edge – tastes like buttered popcorn!
  • Pairings: Brie, something with a crisp skin – Chicken, Veal w/ wild mushrooms

Beaujolais Villages, Georges DuBoeuf 2009 - Retails $8 (Gamay grape; Bourgogne, France )

  • Notes: Smells of light cherry, strawberry; Acidic strawberry, sour cherry and vibrant, does not have a lasting taste in your mouth – drink while young
  • Pairings: Poultry, Caesar salad, pasta, pizza – great for outdoor picnics!

Bourgogne, Pinot Noir, ‘Maximum’, Laboure Roi 2007 – Retails $16 (Bourgogne, France)

  • Notes: Dark cherry smell; Tannic savory cherry flavor, very elegant and a well-rounded wine
  • Pairings: delicate dishes such as roasted chicken, vegetable salads, and cheeses like Gouda.

Fixin, 1er Cru, Clos Napleon, Pierre Gelin 2007 – Retails $48 (Bourgogne, France – Pinot Noir) 

  • Notes: Earthy, tobacco, wood, sour cherry in smell; acidic, tannins, sour fruits/rich
  • Pairings: Mushrooms with veal and fish

Saint Emilion, 1er Grand Cru Classe, Chateau Gaffeliere 2005 – Retails $110 (Bordeaux, France – Merlot, Cab Franc)

  • Notes: Dark cherry, plum smelling; chalky tannins, rich dark plums, cherry, elegant and not too earthy
  • Pairings: Softer meat, roast beef, seared duck breast

Pauillac, Cru Classe, Chateau Grand Puy Lacoste 2004 – Retails $60 (Pauillac, France – Cab Sauv, Merlot, Cab Franc)

  • Notes: Woody, cedar, dark blackberry in smell; Strong tannins, leather, “cigary”, smokey in taste
  • Pairings: Meat, lamb, beef, seared steak

Stellenbosch, ‘John X Merriman’, Rustenberg 2007 – Retails $30 (S. African (new world) – Bordeaux Blend)

  • Notes: Green pepper, ripe fruit very robust in smell; spicy dark cherry, fruitier tannins woody in taste
  • Pairings: Braised BBQ, short ribs; great for outdoor bbq’s!
Sauternes, 1er Cru Classe, Chateau Lafaurie Peyraguey 2006 – Retails $65 (S. Bordeaux, France – Semillion, Sauv Blanc)
  • Notes: Sweet, honey, stone fruit in smell; fruit syrup, ripe, honey in taste
  • Pairings: Amazing with blue cheese – This pair makes for a great dessert!

Virtual Tastings

It’s always nice to know what to taste in a wine, how to properly taste, descriptive wine words etc. However, through text it sometimes sounds all the same and confusing, which is why more and more bloggers/experts are starting to go virtual with their wine tastings making it more interactive and experiential for YOU!  I’ve seen great examples and platforms of this in WineLibraryTV (now,, and of course VineTalk which is an actual TV show!  Below is a scheduled virtual tasting of the Frei Brothers Reserve that you can enjoy even if your not in the market to make a trip to Wine Country anytime soon, here you’ll be able to expereince coast-to-coast toasting and tasting! periodically host’s these virtual interviews which is a great way to learn the speak of wine!  Check the brother’s out on April 20th at 9pm EST.  They even give you a link to buy the wines to join in!!  Cheers!

Frei Brothers Reserve

Airs on April 20 2011 at 9:00 PM est

From Frei Ranch in Healdsburg, Calif., Viticulturist Jim Collins joins Greg in New York City for a taste of Frei Brothers Reserve’s exceptional wines. Tune in to discover how the winery’s sustainable winemaking practices—like habitat preservation and repurposed rainwater—translate to award-winning Sonoma County vintages that help preserve the very land on which they’re grown. RSVP now for this true Coast-to-Coast Toast to Earth Day!

Go here to purchase wines for the tasting and to find out how to save 15% off your order. You can also get free shipping by entering the code EARTH DAY at checkout. Place your order by Monday, April 11th (East Coast) or Thursday, April 14th (West Coast) to ensure your wine arrives in time for the tasting.

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