All you need to know about Cabernet Franc: A quick guide
Cabernet Franc is a red wine variety with a lot of power as well as elegance! The grape originated in Southwest France, with clippings eventually brought to The Loire Valley, where you will find some of the best!
A few more notes on Cabernet Franc:
- It is a parent grape to many red varieties, the most popular being Cabernet Sauvignon (with Sauvignon Blanc), although it is lighter in style, a little more perfumed, and slightly more vegetal/earthy in flavor!
- It is one of the 6 major varieties allowed in Bordeaux blends.
- It can grow in warm and cool climates, in fact, it makes some really great Ice Wine!
The following guide will illustrate what Cabernet Franc tastes like (aroma, flavor, and structure). It will also tell you where it’s from, provide you with common food recommendations, similar varieties, and let you know why you should be drinking more of it!
How would I describe Cabernet Franc?
Cabernet Franc has a good amount of red fruit, but is also known for its “green” and earthy flavors! It has a deliciously rustic vibe to it!
Cabernet Franc can give you spice, herbs, green peppers, and even olives. It has a good balance of fruit and earth, but can fall into the savory category depending on where it is grown!
Cabernet Franc has
What does Cabernet Franc taste like?
These are the most familiar tastes and aromas I typically find in a glass of Cabernet Franc. It’s also common to find strawberry, cranberry, currant, violets, olives, tobacco, graphite, dirt, leather, and earth depending upon where the wine is from, and how it is made.
Remember, wine tastes are somewhat relative. There may be some different tasting notes you consistently find while drinking Cabernet Franc.
What about structure?
Think of that weight as a liquid scale, from water (light body) to heavy cream (full body) in your mouth. Cabernet Franc can range from light to full depending on its classification, but is generally medium bodied.
Medium Plus Acid
You can judge acidity based on whether your mouth waters after you take a sip of something. The more you salivate, the higher the acid. Cabernet Franc has a good amount of acid, but it’s not overpowering!
You can feel alcohol ‘burn’ the back of your throat when you take a sip. Cabernet Franc has quite a range for alcohol depending on where/how it’s made. It can be high but generally falls in the medium category.
Tannin contributes to the dryness of
Where is Cabernet Franc from?
Primarily in: Bordeaux (right bank) and The Loire Valley
Cabernet Franc originated in France. You will find it mostly in Bordeaux and The Loire Valley.
BORDEAUX: Cabernet Franc is a very important blending grape in Bordeaux blends. It is blended with Merlot in the right bank. These wines will be plump and fruity, but also have a rustic and elegant complexity to them from Cabernet Franc.
THE LOIRE VALLEY: Cabernet Franc is the most popular red varietal in the Loire Valley. The best examples are in Touraine, in the subregions of Chinon and Bourgueil. Chinon will be light and elegant, with flavors of raspberry and bell pepper, and good acidity. Bourgueil wines (this is where Cabernet Franc was first planted) are a little more dark, heavy, and powerful for this varietal. Both are juicy and great food pairing wines!
You can also find wonderful Cabernet Franc from The USA (California, Washington, Finger Lakes), Argentina, Italy, Spain, Canada, and Hungary.
What food should I pair with Cabernet Franc?
Good acidity, medium body, and savory flavors lead to a perfect pairing with this creamy cheese. This is actually a classic pairing in the Loire region!
Lamb and Cabernet Franc is always a good idea. Gamey meats and earthy wines complement each other well. Adding herbs and spices to the meat can make the pairing even better!
Cabernet Franc is a savory wine (especially French styles). Olives can be tough to pair, but Cabernet Franc has just enough acidity and fruitiness to tame the saltiness of the olives!
Other Pairings: Peppers, Mushrooms, Meatballs, Burgers, Beef Stew, Feta, Herbs, Lentils, Quiche
What other similar varieties would I enjoy?
Cabernet Sauvignon has:
- more tannin
- more oak influence (vanilla/spices)
- more alcohol/body (generally)
- less vegetal flavors (pyrazines)
- more American Oak (dill/coconut flavors)
- more body (generally)
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