Cabernet Franc

Australian Cabernet Franc wine regional and flavour profile

Cabernet Franc tastes and aromas

Berry flavours of raspberry, strawberry and plum, combined with herbaceous accents of tobacco and dark spice

Cabernet Franc mouthfeel

Medium bodied, lower tannin levels, soft mouthfeel

Facts about Cabernet Franc

  • DNA analysis indicates Cabernet Franc is one of two parents of Cabernet Sauvignon, a cross between it and Sauvignon Blanc.
  • The most common use for Cabernet franc is as a blending partner, often minor, in Bordeaux blends. These wines are made from blends of Cabernet sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet franc varieties, often with one or more of the less common Bordeaux varieties Malbec, Petit Verdot and Carmenere.
  • The second use for the variety is as a varietal wine. In most countries this means that wine has to be made from at least 85% Cabernet franc
  • Cabernet franc ripens a little earlier and hence can be successful in slightly cooler areas than Cabernet Sauvignon.  The wines tend to be softer than sauvignon, with more fruit flavours, especially raspberries, and are given less oak treatment.
  • Most people do not know that Cabernet Franc is best served warm to downplay the dryness and enhance the fruity
  • Along with merlot and chardonnay, cabernet franc put in a cameo in the movie Sideways, and it, too, was disparaged by Miles, the main character (played by Paul Giamatti). But unlike merlot and chardonnay, cabernet franc got the last laugh: Late in the film, Miles, in a fit of despondency, sucks down his prized bottle of 1961 Cheval Blanc at a local burger joint, evidently having forgotten that he doesn’t like cabernet franc.

Australian regions that produce Cabernet Franc

As with so many grapes, Cabernet Franc came to Australia in James Busby’s collection of 1832. It predominantly grows in cool, cool to warm and warm climates such as North-Eastern Victoria, McLaren Vale, the Adelaide Hills and the Clare Valley.

Cabernet Franc ranks amongst the top twenty widely planted gape varieties. Apart from France, its region of origin, the grape is grown in other regions of the world too like the New World European countries, Kazakhstan, and some Asian countries like China. The major regions where Cabernet Franc is produced is France and Italy. In France, regions include to Loire Valley, Libournais, Bergerac, Madillon AOC and Bordeaux. Italian regions with Cabernet Franc include the north eastern region of Friuli, Veneto and the southern region of Puglia. There is a recent surge in the plantations in the Tuscany regions, especially those of Marmma and Bolgheri regions.

The other regions of Europe where the Cabernet Franc wine is produced are Hungary, Slovenia, Spain and Kosovo. It is also produced in parts of Canada like the Niagara Peninsula of Ontario and Okanagan Valley of British Columbia. In the USA the wine was produced in the California regions of Napa and Sonoma. The wine was also produced in other New World regions like South Africa, Chile and Argentina.

Cabernet Franc wine and food pairings

Cabernet Franc wines are often unoaked, and so pair well with meals with herbal flavours rather than rich meats. Examples would be particularly poultry or veal dishes, couscous with meat, Italian pasta lasagne, Middle Eastern dishes, vegetarian dishes such as asparagus quiche, and Greek cuisine.

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