The 2013 Cabernet Franc / Malbec From Naramata’s Bench 1775


by Treve Ring | There isn’t much Malbec grown in BC, and even fewer (any?) blended with cabernet franc. But that’s the beauty of being an adventurous winemaker like Valeria Tate of Bench 1775 in a pioneering wine region like the Okanagan Valley. From her coveted perch on Naramata Bench, she deftly weaves together interesting blends like this, ignoring convention, thankfully, to spark creativity.

An expressive nose of cracked pepper, cassis, anise and cured meats handily leads you to this medium bodied red, the aforementioned unique cabernet franc/malbec blend. Fragrant blue and purple florals, blueberry, wild herbs, bramble, plum and bright cassis notes swirl on the smooth, supple palate, with tannins finely powdered and acidity lifted. An interesting wine with well woven layers of flavour, and a fine wine to serve alongside Moroccan or Indian spiced lamb.

I recently chatted Valeria up regarding her message in this bottle...


Bench 1775 Winery | 2013 Cabernet Franc Malbec | Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, BC

Straight up – why did you make this wine? During the blending of Groove [57.7% Malbec, 7% Syrah, 16.9% Merlot, 8.4% Cab Franc], I had these two components together on their own and I loved the flavour profile so much that I decided to keep it as its own blend.

Where are the grapes from? The grapes are from a beautiful vineyard on the west side of the original Golden Mile farm site, just north of Osoyoos Lake.

Your ideal pairing with this wine would be…? Flash-seared butterflied lamb leg seasoned with sea salt and coarse pepper and fresh spring vegetables roasted with a balsamic glaze.

Favourite BC wine, other than yours? So many beautiful wines all depending on first the climate, second what I’m eating, third the company … Right now anything Bella has in bottle, Terra Vista Fandango, Tightrope Tip-Toe, Poplar Grove 2005 cab franc … See? Too many!

What do you drink when you’re not drinking BC wine? Italian Chianti and Burgundies.


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