In 2010, I wrote a very popular article comparing Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon. I thought it might be a good time to revisit this very fun topic. To do so, I found a great article by Vicki Denig called “Real Wine Lovers Order Cab Franc, not Cabernet Sauvignon.” I hope you enjoy the additional learnings I picked up from this article.
Cab Franc vs. Cabernet Sauvignon in the Vineyard
- Ripening Speed. Cabernet Franc ripens earlier than Cabernet Sauvignon.
- Ability to handle 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.
Cabernet Franc vs. Cabernet Sauvignon in the Dining Room
- Versatility when consuming. Cab Franc is more versatile when it’s time for consumption. Perhaps because of its darker color, heavier weight and higher tannins, Cabernet Sauvignon evokes a certain intensity that makes you think of winter. Cab Franc, on the other hand, is easy to enjoy throughout the year. You’re just as likely to relish it on a cold, winter day as on a hot summer afternoon, especially if you chill it slightly. The wine’s typical aromas and flavors of black currant, raspberry, plum, violet, licorice, tobacco and bell pepper make it excellent for food and wine pairings.
- Quaffability. Because of its light to medium body and extremely balanced flavors, Cab Franc is considered to be more quaffable than Cabernet Sauvignon. For those of you who might not have seen it, I mentioned the word quaffable a few weeks ago in my blog article on wine slang. It means easy to drink.
I would love to hear about your thoughts on Cabernet Franc vs. Cabernet Sauvignon. Do you always choose one over the other? Are there specific times when you choose one over the other? Do you always look for and find the vegetal notes in Cab Franc? Do you like the vegetal notes? Please share your thoughts on these two wonderful wines with us here. Thanks. Cheers!
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Do you have any pairing recommendations for either Cabernet (Sauvignon or Franc) that works best for Autumn or holiday parties? Thank you!
Cabernet Franc is considered to be much more food friendly than Cabernet Sauvignon. Cabernet Sauvignon goes best with a fatty steak. Of course, as a vegetarian, I like it with plenty of non-meat dishes. But it’s best known to go with steak. Cabernet Franc, on the other hand, can go with a wide array of dishes, including a lot of vegetable dishes, since the wine has a lot of vegetable notes.