Ripening earlier than the more famous Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc produces a comparatively lighter series of flavors than its more famous relative. Don't be deceived however, as Cab Franc can be responsible for some very powerful wines.
The grape lends a soft, fruity influence to many Bordeaux blends - particularly on the Right Bank in regions such as Saint-Émilion and Pomerol. Indeed, the legendary Château Cheval Blanc relies on a large proportion of it to achieve its distinctive flavor. Yet its spiritual home is in the Loire Valley, where it produces the well-structured, fruity and soft reds of Saumur and St. Nicolas de Bourgeuil.
Outside France, the grape is planted widely, though in many instances it's confused with Cabernet Sauvignon. There are large crops in Tuscany - where it is often blended with Sangiovese in 'Super Tuscan' wines - as well as in the United States (especially on Long Island, New York).
Red berry, cherries, often a green bell pepper quality
Wines to Try
Château Cheval Blanc, Baron de Varierè
Bordeaux, Loire Valley, Tuscany
Bordo, Bouchet, Bouchy, Breton, Cabernet Aunis, Cabernet Franco
- DNA evidence has proven that Cabernet Franc is the father of the more famous Cabernet Sauvignon, brought about by a crossing with Sauvignon Blanc.
- It is believed that the grape began its life in France in the 17th century thanks to famous statesman Cardinal Richelieu, who brought cuttings to the Loire Valley.