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Cabernet Franc

The "Godfather" grape. If you have a look at lineage, a lot of popular grapes today like Cabernet Sauvignon & Merlot are the offspring of Cabernet Franc. It's unique flavor is a "green" note, often described as bell peppers, which can be more like roasted red peppers from warmer climates. It's a result of a compound called methoxypyrazines, which acts as a natural pest defense system.


Cabernet Franc

It's a love or late it kinda wine. And because of it's robust-ness, it has a variety of tastes depending on where you get it from. Cool climates like Ontario & Bordeaux will deliver more tart red fruit & heightened acidity. Warm climates will deliver more dried fruit flavors & sweet red fruit notes.

The pyrazines will usually still be present as "bell pepper" or "roasted red pepper notes". Wines that have notes of like grass, elderflower, peas, will usually have this compound present.

Pair Cabernet Franc with dishes utilising tomato or or vinegar, like smoked BBQ, lentils, or Shakshuka!

Higher acidity makes it possible to pair Cabernet Franc with tomato-based dishes, vinegar-based sauces (smoky BBQ anyone?), or rich legumes like black beluga lentils.


Due to the methoxypyrazines, Cabernet Franc is able to successfully grow in a diverse range of places. It's origin lies in the Basque region of France, and the "ultimate" Cab Franc is found in Right Bank Bordeaux, where it's usually blended with Merlot to produce the sought after Grand Cru wines, like those from Pomerol & Saint-Emilion.


The famous appelations would be Chinon & Bourgueil. You can expect something with relatively high acidity & low tannins. It would not have a very long finish, but you will notice a burst of flavors like cherry/raspberry compote, smoky tomato, oregano & roasted peppers. Try to get something with at least 5 years of age


Often used in the creation of Super Tuscans, you can expect ripe & rich aromas. Tart red fruit flavors give way to deeper black cherry & blackberry notes, and cocoa & leather notes will be more pronounced. This boldness & elevated alcohol comes in part due to oak ageing, and if blended, expect higher tannins from the other grapes it's blended with. Look to Bolgheri & Suvereto.


Producing fruit-forward Cabernet Franc, Sierra Foothills is one of the few Californian regions producing single varietal Cab Francs. Expect more muted green notes like mint & roasted jalapenos, as well as sweet red fruit of strawberries & raspberries. Oak ageing will bring out flavors of chocolate & baking spices.


Chile & Argentina have becoming increasingly more promoters of Cabernet Franc, and it's no wonder due to the popularity of Carmenere. They would have a mix of cool & warm climate styles depending on wher eit's grown & produced.

Tags: Varietal