Friday, July 29, 2005

A Date With My Wife and a Bottle of Standing Stone Cabernet Franc

The other night my wife decided we would have a wonderful summer meal. We had fresh corn and Jersey tomatoes right off a small farm 5 miles down the road from us. I love the farm, whose name I am not aware of, but which is on Route 33, between Freehold and the Jersey Shore. It is stocked with a turkey, geese, chickens, roosters, ducks, and other odd assorted animals. It is not the prettiest, most commercial place. The vegetables and fresh flowers are left on large tables, and they rely on honesty as you put your money in the slot.

We fed our boys first, and let them watch a movie in the den. My wife, Dominique, and I had a date. It was grown-up’s night out….we ate our dinner on the deck. We put a cloth tablecloth on the back table, candles, and real napkins. She served a salad of fresh, cut tomatoes, onions, and oil and vinegar. And with it she offered fresh picked corn on the cob, steaming from the burner on the grill. And my contribution was that I grilled two medium-rare small steaks. A little salt and pepper and we popped the cork.

I opened a 1999 Standing Stone Vineyards Cabernet Franc. This is a light-to-medium bodied red. An old-fashioned claret, if you will. Lot’s of bright red fruits up front – raspberry and cherry. But as it lingered, softer, more mature fruits came through. And it finished nice and dry.

Standing Stone is one of the premiere makers of Gewurztraminer and Riesling in the country, but their reds are wonderful too. The Cabernet Franc was pressed and finished fermenting in American Oak Barrels. The wine was aged for 10 months in a combination of French and American oak barrels, and then blended in late spring with some Merlot for a little more mouthfeel.

The 1999 Cabernet Franc is no longer available, but the new 2002 Cabernet Franc is excellent, too. They only made 221 cases, so you better buy it when you see it….you can drink it right away, or you can save it too. But what you really want to do, no matter when, is drink it.