Recently, I was privileged to sit down for my first vertical tasting. For those who don’t know or haven’t experienced one yet, a vertical tasting is one varietal from the same producer from several vintages.
Potomac Point was tasting Cabernet Francs from 2006 through 2010. Vertical tastings give you the opportunity to experience how things such as weather, old or new oak, or varietals vary due to micro-climates and how soil affects the final product.
We started with the oldest; the vintner took us through the sourcing of the grapes, the type of season they had (be it dry or rainy), and his blending to produce a pleasing wine.
2006 81% Cab Franc 19% Malbec, French Oak, 13.2% alcohol. Grapes from Turk Mountain.
This wine presented softer due to its age, terroir, and fruit-forward with dark cherry and spice. Full body with velvety tannins. The finish had mellowed due to aging, but more so than many others, this wine had a sharpness in its spice due to the blending with Malbec. On the nose you could catch a hint of black licorice.
2007 90% Cab Franc 10% Petit Verdot, French Oak, 13.2% alcohol. Grapes from Crozet.
This wine has aromas of dark fruit and currants, finishing with a smoky spice. The wine is fruit-forward, stood up with soft tannins and spice. The body is long and spicy with a dry, oaky finish. It was dryer than the ‘06 and presented with an almost dusty dry finish that I loved.
2008 85% Cab Franc 10% Tannat 5% Merlot, French Oak, 13.6% alcohol. Grapes from Northern Neck.
The aromas of this wine include blueberry and vanilla. The wine is distinctively more fruit-forward, and the spiciness and tannins are more pronounced. As the spice begins to stand up to the dry finish, the smoky oaky flavors are more noticeable. The finish remains long and mellow—a testament to its quality. This wine was my favorite of the tasting.
2009 85%Cab Franc 10% Tannat 5% Merlot French Oak, 13.6% alcohol. Grapes from Northern Neck.
Much like the previous vintage; all the same aromas and flavors, and the presentation was almost identical. However, you could taste that this wine was much tighter and more fruit-forward than the 2008. The oak, smoke, and vanilla flavors were more present and longer-lasting in this vintage.
2010, this tasting is straight from the barrel, no notes, no information about the blending, and it presents as a young wine would: very fruit-forward. The alcohol had not yet completely mellowed like past vintages have had the opportunity to do. You could taste the potential, the layering of fruit, black and green pepper, the smokiness that builds but is balanced by vanilla. While this wine was young, you can tell in a few years it will be great!
I encourage you to find an opportunity to try a vertical tasting, it was a great experience, and one I look forward to doing again soon!
Story by Brad and Katie Jordan