Poplar Grove Cabernet Franc 2007, Okanagan Valley $36.90
Cabernet Franc often plays a role like that of a great character actor who brings a lot of personality to the main event but is always in the background. A key component of many red wine blends (especially in Bordeaux), Cabernet Franc is often overlooked as a standalone varietal. But Naramata's Poplar Grove Winery puts it centre stage, with an outstanding vintage showing violet aromas mingling with mocha and cherry, sleek oak and velvety tannins. Cab Francs pair terrifically with food: prime rib, traditional meat stews, southern barbecued chicken and creamy pasta with chèvre. (It overwhelms rich shellfish dishes.) Decant at least one hour before serving.
Available at private wine shops.
Kasey Wilson is food editor of Wine Access magazine and editor of Best Places Vancouver.