Cabernet Franc is a medium-skinned grape variety of the genus vitis vinifera. It is not clear where the grape vine originated but there is some evidence it came from the Basque region of France. The grape is considered one of the “International” varieties having originated in around France.

cabernet franc leafCabernet Franc is grown in most other European countries including Italy, Spain, Germany as well as in the new world areas of South America, North America, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. France however, is the real home of Cabernet Franc and one finds its clearest expression either in the Loire Valley or in Bordeaux where the styles are quite different.

In the Loire regions — such as Chinon and Bourgeuil — the red wines are almost entirely made up of Cabernet Franc whereas in Bordeaux the Cabernet Franc is most often a lesser part of a blend.

The Bordeaux climate with its longer growing season and more southern location tends to produce darker riper fruit with more complex tannins. In Bordeaux, Cabernet Franc prefers the conditions on the right bank. In the Loire however, the wine quality seems to be more vintage dependent and in poorer years the green elements of bell pepper can predominate.

What Does Cabernet Franc Taste Like?

Under the best circumstances, wine made from Cabernet Franc is medium bodied with distinctive aromas of flowers, herbs and red fruits that develop into the taste of raspberry, red currant with some notes of dark fruit layered with notes of herb and black pepper.

Food Pairing Cabernet Franc

Cabernet Franc is a red wine that pairs more with lighter and more delicate meats like spring lamb and veal, even fish and chicken. The biggest disadvantage Cabernet Franc has as a grape variety — despite how delicious it is — is the fact that the “Cabernet” part of “Cabernet Franc” always the two Cabernets against one another and unfortunately Sauvignon usually wins.

Originally posted on Sommelier Q&A