Cabernet Franc wine grape
An old French black grape whose homeland is Bordeaux and the central Loire Valley, but is now planted all over the world. It’s the parent (along with Sauvignon Blanc) of Cabernet Sauvignon, and produces quite similar wine. Both yield tannic, herby reds with strong acidity and blackcurrant flavours.
It differs by being lighter in both body and colour, a little less tannic, and more inclined towards red fruit flavours than its famous offspring. It’s also more aromatic and leafier, with a strong herbaceous streak likened to green peppers. If yields are too high or it doesn’t get fully ripe that grassy herbaceousness can be overpowering. Fortunately it ripens earlier than Cabernet Sauvignon, which accounts for its dominance in the Loire.
For such a widely planted variety it’s rarely seen on its own, being a key component of the classic Bordeaux blend along with Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. Only in the Loire is it commonly found unblended, most notably in the raspberry-flavoured reds of Saumur-Champigny, Chinon and Bourgueil. These are typically medium-weight, unoaked, refreshing reds to be drunk young, but in good vintages they can be considerably more serious and keep for decades.
It’s occasionally made into aromatic rosé, especially in cooler parts of the USA and, as Cabernet d’Anjou, in the Loire.
Decanting Club wines containing: Cabernet Franc
From Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Italy
Conti Formentini, Cabernet Franc Collio
From Conca de Barberà, Spain
Escoda-Sanahuja, Nas del Gegant
From Penedès, Spain
Pardas ‘Negre Franc’
From Bordeaux, France
Château Franc-Cardinal, Francs Côtes de Bordeaux
From New York, United States
Channing Daughters, Rosato di Cabernet Franc
From Mendoza, Argentina
Atamisque Serbal, Cabernet Franc
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