A light red that's just right
Here in Virginia, a lot of winemakers are fond of making reds with Cabernet Franc--not using it for blending, as it done in Bordeaux, but all by itself, as is done in the Loire. Unfortunately, for me, many of the resulting wines don't taste like a true expression of Cabernet Franc, but as an unripe Cabernet Sauvignon.
Head to the Loire Valley, though, and there are some beautiful examples of what the grape can do on its own. The other evening, I made a ham that had a glaze of ground cloves, brown sugar, hot pepper jelly and apricot preserves. I would typically open up a bottle of Gewurz with this dish, but I didn't happen to have any on hand. I opted instead for a lighter red, selecting a 2006 Les Gravieres Chinon from Couly Dutheil. It turned out to be a perfect match.
The wine is soft and supple, with a nice amount of red berry fruit flavor. It had a light to medium body, but could definitely hold its own against the ham's strong glaze. It came highly recommended to me by King Farm Wine Shop in Gaithersburg. You can purchase it there for about $17 a bottle.