Over the last few years we have seen an uptick in the interest for Cabernet Franc. When made properly, without the greener, more vegetative edges that sometimes plagues it and offering more spicy notes, it can be a great alternative to Cabernet Sauvignon. One of the more interesting versions we have had the opportunity to sell has been the El Enemigo Cabernet Franc out of Mendoza Argentina. A joint project that was started in 2009, between winemaker Alejandro Vigil and Adrianna Catena, of Catena family fame, this venture has come on like gang-busters in a short period of time. Having close ties with the vast Catena network has allowed El Enemigo to gain access to some of Catena’s top vineyard sites. As with most things Mendoza El Enemigo makes formidable Malbec but their Cabernet Franc, of which they make a number of offerings, is the house specialty and it can be very impressive.. Their entry-level Cabernet Franc is a great lead in that illustrates just how well they have mastered the varietal, the current 2019 really doing a great job showcasing their prowess with the varietal.
94 pts Descorchados
The base for some of El Enemigo’s best wines comes from the Adrianna Vineyard, some 1,400 meters above sea level in the Uco Valley. And, to be even more specific, the star of this winery is the cabernet franc that they have been working on for a decade—they were one of the pioneers in the discovery of this now-fashionable variety. This 2019 franc is a good place to start, with its herbal and spicy aromas, its red fruits and, above all, the way that the tannins react on the palate, with that chalky texture that envelops and builds a firm and vertical texture. A good starting point to understand cabernet franc according to El Enemigo.
94 pts Vinous
The 2019 Cabernet Franc from the Uco Valley contains 10% of Malbec and spent 15 months in foudres. Violet in hue. The raw nose offers a whiff of stem and herbal hints with a touch of sour cherry and a fruity backdrop. Quite smooth and juicy with a degree of tension and a frank expression, the dark fruit flavors are compact at the back of the mouth, leading into the lengthy finish.
92 pts James Suckling
This has aromas of fresh plums, raspberries, currants, tobacco leaves and bark. Medium-bodied with supple tannins and a creamy, vibrant and fresh palate. Juicy fruit. Drink now or hold.
92 pts Wine Advocate
It was curious to see how the Cabernet Franc in cooler years seemed to have ripened more thoroughly, and the 2019 Cabernet Franc and the 2021 felt riper than the 2020, with darker fruit and a headier sensation, despite all being around 13.5% alcohol. These bottlings are never 100% from the variety, and this one contains some 10% Malbec. It has some spicy oak in the background. Best after 2022.
This Cabernet Franc is ruby red in color with soft violet tones. The nose has intense aromas and concentrated notes of cassis, ripe currants, and sweet spices including black pepper and cloves. His tenure provides integrated oak notes of cedar and vanilla. Fresh impact and excellent structure on the palate, reminiscent of ripe red fruits with hints of eucalyptus and tagged black pepper. This wine has an excellent balance and elegance with a well-structured, persistent finish