Roudon-Smith Winery Cabernet Franc 2006

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Although I had a huge dose of jet lag, having been back home from a month in Europe for a matter of hours, I hightailed it out to Roudon-Smith Winery on a cold and rainy Saturday in December. After all, it was their annual holiday event of wine and chocolate tasting, and—chocoholic that I am—I did not want to miss out on some delicious chocolaty samplings with some of my favorite wines.

My husband was already at the winery when I arrived—going straight there from a meeting—and standing under the redwoods to save me a parking space. Roudon-Smith is in a bucolic setting a couple of miles down Bean Creek Road in Scotts Valley. It’s owned and operated by Annette and David Hunt and their partner Al Drewke. All of them were there to greet us and chat about wine— and the inclement weather.

We started out a tasting with a couple of white wines—a Sauvignon Blanc and a Chardonnay—but it was all about reds for me that day. Somehow, a chilled Chard on a chilly day doesn’t appeal to me half as much as the warm glow of a robust red.

Out of the splendid reds we tasted—Pinot Noir, Claret, Duet and Cabernet Franc—I fell in love with the Cab Franc. Bold oak aromas and flavors leap from the glass—with lots of cherries, lavender, vanilla and ripe fruit. The Cab—with the grapes coming from Sundance Vineyards in Monterey—is aged for 17 months in oak casks. You can drink it now, or keep it for some time, as it will age nicely. For $20, this is a really lovely wine—and a bronze medal winner in the San Francisco Chronicle wine competition. Cab Franc pairs well with food—from everything to a burger and fries, pizza, roast chicken or a basic ham sandwich.

Chocolate maker Michelle Segovia was on hand for the chocolate tasting. Segovia’s Sweets is the name of her company, and she makes all kinds of handmade gourmet truffles, plus custom-made cakes as well. As Drewke poured each tasting, we could choose a chocolate to go with it. I particularly liked two chocolate flavors with chili – a mild one and a spicy one. It’s very sexy to have “hot” chocolate and dark fruity wine together. Mmm, maybe I should make a note of that for Valentine’s Day.

Wine Sale: Roudon-Smith also makes a superb Claret wine—a blend of Syrah, Zinfandel and Merlot with luscious flavors of dark fruit. It retails for $15 a bottle, but right now it’s on sale for $115 a case.

Roudon-Smith Winery, 2364 Bean Creek Road, Scotts Valley. 438-1244. RoudonSmith.com. Open Saturday noon to 4:30 p.m. and for group appointments. Segovia’s Sweets, 325-6333. segoviasweets.com. Segovia’s will be participating in the 3rd annual Chocolate Festival on Jan. 24 from 1-5 p.m. at the Cocoanut Grove.

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