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2005 Lang & Reed Cabernet Franc

March 28, 2007|S. Irene Virbila

Cabernet Franc is traditionally a blending grape in Bordeaux, but in the Loire Valley, in Chinon and Bourgeuil, it comes into its own producing supple wines with a dose of black pepper and spice.

California winemakers never seem to have taken to the grape. But John Skupny, who started Lang & Reed winery with his family just more than 10 years ago, thought he'd try his hand at making a Cabernet Franc from grapes grown in Rutherford's western bench. He makes two, actually: this one, which is released a year after it's made, and an age-worthy one called Premier Etage.

The 2005 straight Cabernet Franc is a beauty, and proof, if anyone needs it, that this grape can make a delightful wine in California. It has a beautiful texture, lots of pepper and spice, along with velvety, deep fruit and a lively acidity. Altogether, it's wonderfully food-friendly and delicious.

Drink it with just about anything -- a burger, some ribs, a rack of lamb, cheese. This is one versatile wine.

Quick swirl

Region: Napa Valley

Price: About $20

Style: Ripe and quaffable

Food it goes with: Burger, ribs, rack of lamb, cheese.

Where you find it: Widely available at fine wine retailers.

-- S. Irene Virbila

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