The Screwcap Letters: Madiran Tannat Cabernet Franc

Scott Lansdowne

Madiran Tannat Cabernet Franc

ABV: 13.5%

Price: $17.79

Synopsis: Call me Beelzebub, for fruit flies and I appear to be ecologically congruent. We happily share the habitat of my apartment and many of my favorite bars. I consider them as a rhinoceros considers those pesky little birds that perch on its back—I am their friend, their host, and their sovereign. And like any good leader, I try to govern fairly, murder indiscriminately, and satisfy their brief, mortal needs.


What they usually seem to need are my kitchen staples of beer, apple sauce, filet mignon with red wine reduction, and random countertop residue; I have come to trust their judgement. And let me say, this cabernet was a hit with these little buggers! They agitated the air in anticipation of yet another bottle I would leave open for weeks on end. In the region of France where this wine originates, an old folk says goes, “Scorn not the food of flies, lest you become the food of worms.” So grab a fine mesh strainer, and bottoms up! If it’s nourishing to them, it’s at least quaffable for us.

Nose: Your scabby daytime bus stalker sneezes, again, into a leather-bound volume of medieval Persian eroticism, which he plans to drop nonchalantly into your astonished lap. His father stole the book from the East Kootenay Public Library and used it to first seduce his mother in a damp duplex in 1973. So you can see his plan here—it stinks, like this wine. But, you know that, like this wine, there are worse things.

Body: Boil water and add coffee grounds. Steep for 4 minutes, then strain the grounds and add powdered cheese sauce. Return to heat and simmer on low for 20 minutes, adding brown sugar and soy sauce to thicken. Once a thick brown patina forms on top, reduce heat and discard entirely. Open a bottle of any wine. The body of this cabernet is remarkably similar to whichever wine you are now holding.

Taste: The tense, stifling candy-laden atmosphere of hosting a child’s birthday party during a David Lynch premier. Surreal, violent, ontologically destructive. You’ll recommend it to your friends, scorn them for disliking it, and ultimately blame it for your own latent insanity.

Finish: Like Willy Loman in Death of a Salesman, this wine finishes with a powerful example of weakness, bitterness, and poor spending practices.

Review by Scott Lansdowne

Originally published in analogue magazine’s Oct/Nov issue