The Best Wine for dog lovers: Cabernet Franc

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I finally found a wine that smells like dog ears, in a good way.

There are these tufts of fur behind my dog’s ears that smell like freshly dried hay warmed by French sunshine: appealing with slightly dried tobacco notes and a deep familiar quality that just soothes. I love this smell; it makes me zen about everything from world peace to getting my kids into college.

The wine? Cabernet Franc from the Loire Valley in France. Some of you may recognize it as a blending grape used along with Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Malbec in Bordeaux styled wines. Because it tends to ripen earlier than Cabernet Sauvignon, it’s much happier in cooler climates like the Loire. Other cool climate wine regions are working with Cabernet Franc but to my mind they don’t have the same dog-eared appeal of Loire wines. Mind you, I’ve enjoyed feminine versions from Virgina, New York and California, but the Cabernet Franc from France has no peer.

When you consider it, dog ears are really quite charming, unlike say, dog noses or dog bellies. Ears have charm and personality; they are masters of subtlety and nuance. It’s these very characteristics that I consistently enjoy in Loire Valley Cabernet Franc. These are not big, fat wines, they are layered and thoughtful.  Like a faithful hound, they offer no argument, just enjoyment.

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