' Cheers to the Cabernet Franc that’s Authentically Chatham - Chatham Vineyards on Church Creek



Cheers to the Cabernet Franc that’s Authentically Chatham

Elegant red fruit. Delicate tannins. Impactful aromatics. Minerality and milk chocolate.


Meet the Cabernet Franc from Chatham Vineyards on Church Creek.


It’s a special red wine to Chatham vintner Jon Wehner for a couple of reasons, starting with one very simple one: It is what it says it is. In his 24th year of growing grapes at the boutique winery on Virginia’s Eastern Shore, Jon feels confident enough to say with a certain level of authenticity that Chatham’s Cab Franc has a distinct flavor profile.


“When a sommelier or someone who knows varietals tastes our Cabernet Franc, they will be able to identify that it’s a Cabernet Franc,” Jon says. “That’s important because for one, it’s varietally correct.  I’m not interested in just planting something for the name.”


Chatham’s Cabernet Franc’s complexity includes a raspberry/cranberry/cherry red fruit and a minerality that makes the taster pause for a moment as it’s a site expressive wine. The aromatics take on a floral, herbal quality of sage and eucalyptus and a spiciness of clove and tobacco. Jon prefers the word flinty in offering another description. That almost surely comes from the marine deposits in the soils filled with oysters shells. While those bring a distinct salinity to Chatham Steel Chardonnay, they bring out a minerality in its Cabernet Franc.


“In saying flinty, it’s almost like the smell of a fresh No. 2 pencil,” Jon says. “These are just expressions. You taste out of the barrel in a cold cellar and ask, ‘What does this remind me of?’ You swirl, you smell, you taste. To me, that’s complexity. When it takes you a moment to recall, ‘What is that I’m tasting?’”


Like all of Chatham’s wines, it’s important to Jon that the Cabernet Franc remains vineyard driven — among the reasons he embraces the term vintner over winemaker to describe himself.


“We’re actually in the vineyard doing the work, and every decision we make is expressed in the wine,” he says. “We’re not creating magic. I’m not manipulating and adjusting things in a lab. I’m not producing sterile wine. I’m producing interesting wine.”


Enjoy this red wine with pretty much anything from surf and turf to pairing it with a sampling of appetizers. It’s a wonderful food wine because of its incredible aroma, complexity and lighter tannin structure. Sample it as part of a flight in the tasting room or order a bottle online.

Post By:   Amanda Shortt
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