Cabernet Franc, a black-skinned French wine grape variety, has earned its place as a key player in the world of wine. It thrives in numerous wine-producing regions globally, making its mark in the Loire Valley and standing as the third grape of Bordeaux blends. This versatile grape has even contributed genetically, being one of the parent grapes of Cabernet Sauvignon, alongside Sauvignon Blanc.
Cabernet Franc wines are celebrated for their delicate and aromatic nature, especially when young. They share some similarities with Cabernet Sauvignon but are distinguished by a distinctive green, vegetal note that ranges from leafy and garrigue to green bell pepper. This unique characteristic has occasionally led wine enthusiasts to mistake Cabernet Franc for unripe Cabernet Sauvignon or even Carmenère.
In regions with cooler climates, Cabernet Franc exhibits notes of graphite and red licorice, while warmer climates bring out cigar and leather aromas. When used in ice wines, Cabernet Franc showcases intense flavors of strawberry. When blended with other varieties, it imparts herbaceous accents of tobacco and dark spice, contributing to a smoother and rounder mouthfeel.
In the vineyard, Cabernet Franc is known for its hardiness. It ripens relatively early in the growing season, reducing the risk of adverse weather conditions affecting the crop. This resilience makes it a valuable “insurance” grape, capable of delivering good yields when properly managed. However, Cabernet Franc vines are susceptible to the Leaf Roll virus, particularly in old vines, which can reduce yields and color compound production in grape skins.
Cabernet Franc’s popularity has led to its cultivation in various regions worldwide. France leads the way with over 30,000 hectares of Cabernet Franc reported in 2016. It thrives in the Libournais region of Bordeaux, particularly in Pomerol and Saint-Émilion, giving rise to esteemed wines like Cheval Blanc and Ausone.
In the Loire Valley, regions like Chinon, Saumur, Saumur-Champigny, Bourgueil, and Saint-Nicolas de Bourgeil are bastions of varietal Cabernet Franc wines. These wines are cherished for their aromas of ripe berries and sweet spices. The local name for Cabernet Franc in the Loire Valley is “Breton,” honoring Abbot Breton of Bourgueil Abbey, who popularized the variety in the 17th century.
Beyond France, Cabernet Franc has found a home in Canada, where it is used in both dry red wines and ice wines. In the United States, it thrives in regions like Napa and Sonoma counties in California, as well as in Long Island and Finger Lakes. It also contributes to the production of Bordeaux-style wines in Argentina and Chile.
Cabernet Franc’s journey from its French roots to diverse global regions underscores its adaptability and the unique character it imparts to wines, making it a beloved choice among winemakers and enthusiasts alike.
(0 review)13.50% /
- WS 92
12 bottlesPlease create an account for Free Shipping or Log In.