Cabernet Franc is a very old variety believed to have origins in South West France. It is the overlooked parent (along with Sauvignon Blanc) of Cabernet Sauvignon, and is used quite often in
Cabernet Franc grapes are thinner-skinned, earlier-ripening, and higher in acidity than Cabernet Sauvignon. The vines are winter-hearty and moderately productive, but are susceptible to spring frosts. Vineyards in climates where rain is a harvest-time threat, for example,
often plant this grape as a back up for Cabernet Sauvignon.
Fruitier and sometimes more herbal or vegetative than Cabernet Sauvignon, the wines are also lighter in both color and tannins. Underripe versions have strong vegetative characters. Fully ripe versions are imbued with currant, cherry, strawberry, leafy, and tobacco notes along with the classic pencil-shavings/graphite note. In warm and sunny climates, the grape ripens enough to lose its telltale herbaceous character and becomes more fruit forward with an emphasis on cherry.
This varietal is widely planted in
France’s Loire Valley
(known as Breton here), where it is the base of Chinon, and Bourgueil in Touraine, and
Anjou-Villages and Saumur-Champigny wines within the Anjou-Saumur wine
producing zone. Here it manifests itself
as a bright, juicy, deeply flavored, plummy, slightly herby wine with
absolutely no oak influence whatsoever.
Friuli, Tuscany, Clare
Valley, Australia, Hawkes Bay, New Zealand, and
show promise. In the Mendoza, Argentina United States,
cabernet franc is planted in Long Island, New York, Washington,
and in both the Niagara Peninsula in Ontario
and British Columbia’s Okanagan
Valley in Canada.
Château Cheval Blanc, St. Emilion, Bordeaux (France)
Domaine Couly-Dutheil Chinon Clos de l’Écho, Loire Valley (France)
Domaine de la Chevalerie Bourgueil, Loire Valley (France)
Lebreton Anjou Villages Brissac, Loire Valley (France)
Chateau de Varrains Saumur-Champigny Rouge, Loire Valley (France)
Detert Family Cabernet Franc,
Valley, California ( USA)
Watts Winery Cabernet Franc,
Inniskillin Cabernet Franc Icewine, Niagara Peninsula-Ontario (
Craggy Range Winery Merlot Cabernet Franc Sophia Gimblett Gravels Vineyard Hawke's Bay (
Pearson Cabernet Franc,
Villa Pillo Cabernet Franc Vivaldaia IGT Toscana (Italy)Hahn Estates Cabernet Franc
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