Cabernet Franc fascinates me. Some people love it, and some people don’t. Are you a fan of Cabernet Franc? If so, why? I’d love to learn more about what makes this grape appealing to some and not appealing to others. Today, we’re going to dig into this grape in delicious detail. I hope you enjoy it. A big thank you to Wine Folly for their help with this article.
What Is Cabernet Franc Known For?
Cabernet Franc is a medium-bodied red wine, which is known for its herbaceous bell pepper flavors, medium-high acidity and mouthwatering taste. While it tastes delicious on its own, it’s better known as a blending grape in Red Bordeaux wines.
Where Does the Bell Pepper Flavor Come From?
The herbaceous bell pepper flavor is caused by a group of related aroma compounds called methoxypyrazines or “pyrazines” for short. These compounds occur naturally in Cabernet Franc vines as a natural defense system against pests. And, it’s part of the reason why this grape successfully grows in such a diverse range of places. The bell pepper flavor definitely takes getting used to.
A Few Other Facts to Help You Become a Fan of Cabernet Franc
- The grape’s origin: It is believed that Cabernet Franc originates in the Basque region of France, which is in the extreme southwest of France.
- Food pairings: This wine is a great food pairing wine. It pairs especially well with tomato-based dishes, vinegar-based sauces and rich legumes. It is a perfect pairing with dishes featuring fresh herbs.
- Interesting relations: Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc are the parents of Cabernet Sauvignon. The parenting happened in the middle 1600s in Bordeaux.
- Where it’s grown: France, Romania, Hungary, the Balkans, Italy, Australia, New Zealand, Argentina and the United States.
Comparing Cabernet Franc to Cabernet Sauvignon
It’s fun to compare the father (Cabernet Franc) to the son (Cabernet Sauvignon). You’ll definitely find some differences.
- Ripening Speed. Cabernet Franc ripens earlier than Cabernet Sauvignon.
- Handling cool climates. Cabernet Franc does better than Cabernet Sauvignon in cooler climates.
- Versatility when growing. Cabernet Sauvignon is the more versatile grape in the vineyard, because it is more vigorous and thicker skinned.
- Versatility when consuming. Cab Franc is more versatile when it’s time for consumption. Cabernet Sauvignon feels more like winter. Cabernet Franc, on the other hand, can be enjoyed throughout the year.
- Ageability: Because it has lower tannins, Cabernet Franc isn’t as good at aging as Cabernet is. Typically, you will drink one of these wines within 3 to 5 years.
You might be interested in reading an article I wrote 10 years ago comparing the two grapes.
Wise Words from Jancis Robinson
Jancis Robinson is a fan of Cabernet Franc. She wisely said, “I’m not a huge enthusiast of the sexual stereotyping of wines but even I can see that Cabernet Franc might be described as the feminine side of Cabernet Sauvignon. It is subtly fragrant and gently flirtatious rather than massively muscular and tough in youth. Because Cabernet Sauvignon has so much more of everything – body, tannin, alcohol, colour – it is often supposed to be necessarily superior, but I have a very soft spot indeed for its more charming and more aromatic relative, Cabernet Franc.”
Are you a fan of Cabernet Franc? I’d love to hear your thoughts. Thanks!
As an independent wine consultant with WineShop At Home, I absolutely enjoy bringing a taste of the Napa wine country home to you one sip at a time. Whether you simply love to drink wine, seek a special personalized wine gift, or are in search of a new wine jobs opportunity as a wine consultant, feel free to contact me for a truly unique wine tasting experience!
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