Cabernet Franc

Happy Cabernet Franc Day!

And it couldn’t be at a better time of the year.  Nothing sounds better than cozying up by the fireplace with a delicious glass of Cab Franc to help keep you warm.

Cabernet Franc in the new world has an association with big heavy extraction and full bodied wines, where as the French showcase fuller expressions for blending in the Bordeaux, and lighter stylings with beautiful terroir and pyrazinic notes that make Bourgueil & Chinon recognizable regions the world over.

Cabernet Franc is not only the father grape to Cabernet Sauvignon (along with its mother grape, Sauvignon Blanc), but It is also its insurance policy in the Bordeaux.  As Cabernet Franc ripens a week or so before Cabernet Sauvignon, one can be switched for the other if adverse weather had hit earlier in the season or hits durring the harvest of one or the other.

Although predominantly found in the Loire Valley and Bordeaux, Cabernet Franc has enjoyed growing successes in a number of areas around the globe.  If you’re looking to spark up the hearth and relax with a glass of Cab Franc, here are some areas you should be looking to find it:

  • California: Sierra Foothills and Napa Valley.
  • France: Our absolute favorites (the whole world over) are Bourgueil and Chinon, but other great expressions exist in Anjou, Saumur-Champigny, St. Emilion, Bergerac, and Madiran.
  • Italy: Friuli and Veneto have a young and bustling scene, but unfortunately scientists need to identify if all the Cab Franc is Cab Franc and not mixed up with Cab Sauv and Carmenere.  Tuscany has seen an increase in plantings as well.  Some Chianti blends are using a bit of Cab Franc too.
  • Hungary: Villány and Szekszárd
  • Canada: Some of the most refined (and delicious) late-harvest Cab Franc can be acquired from our neighbors up north.
  • Argentina: In 2014 a Cab Franc from Mendoza scored 97 points in Wine Advocate.  Keep an eye out on the Argentinian Cab Franc scene.