by Daniel Kelada, Wine Writer, Texas Wine and Trail; Founding Director of the Texas Wine Journal
The Texas Wine Review is a weekly column that aims to provide insight and reviews of Texas wines using a professional evaluation approach while encouraging the discovery and enjoyment of wines from across the State of Texas.
Producer: Messina Hof
Wine Type: Dry Red
Varietal: 89% Cabernet Franc, 11% Cabernet Sauvignon
Total Production: 1388 bottles (115 cases)
Brix at Harvest: 25.0
Date of Review: 2/6/2014 Time: 11:00am Glassware: ISO
Quality of Style: 4.5 Drinkability: 5.0 DK 93/100
Right of the bat this wine is showing classic cherry color for Cabernet Franc. The wine is bright, medium to dark in color with visible extract. The watery meniscus suggests a reasonable level of concentration of flavor and the tight transition in color suggest that some astringency should be expected on the palate.
The aromas are classic Cab Franc but of a much richer (fuller and less dry) style. Instead of tart bing cherry I’m getting luxardo cherry and instead of green undertones from a cooler climate I’m getting black tea and more alluvial/barnyard aromas. The American oak is more pronounced than the French oak but both seem to have some moderate char on them. The combination of the two oaks add a woody and sweet complexity that comes off as leather, licorice, cinnamon and cocoa powder. The cocoa powder turns sweeter in the class over time. I do not pick up on any chalk or limestone minerality, a common character found in French Cabernet Franc.
The wine has clean flavors of over ripe plums, blueberries and currants. The palate does not show flavors as dark as the aromas. The oak (18 months all together) is really well integrated with the fruit. Structurally the wine is dry, to the left of medium bodied, has balanced alcohol and supple acidity.
The fruit quality really stands out in this wine along with the well-integrated oak. Even though the wine is dry the fruit forwardness combined with the sweet undertones from the oak gives off the perception of sweetness. The drinkability is off the charts; the tannins from the oak and grapes are soft, the fruit character is not over the top and is complemented by slightly earthy undertones. It is a universal wine, with balance, finesse and moderate complexity.
Drink or Hold: Now-2016
Daniel is a Executive Sommelier, Master Candidate and Senior Wine Instructor with the International Wine Guild and through the Guild teaches accredited wine certifications and seminars in Texas and around the country. He has a background in BioChemistry from the University of Texas at Austin and in 2008, he founded GUSTO Tastings, a wine education company with expertise in consulting and event curation. He is a founding partner in Vinovium Partners, a Texas négociant that specializes in premium wines on tap from Texas and abroad. Daniel is also the Tasting Director for the Texas Wine Journal, a subsidiary of the Texas Wine and Food Consortium.