As one of the proud parent grapes of Cabernet Sauvignon (along with Sauvignon Blanc), Cabernet Franc is a bit like Billy Ray Cyrus. (Stay with me here; don’t toss those cowboy hats just yet.) Billy Ray’s daughter, Miley Cyrus, is a bit like Cabernet Sauvignon; Miley is a flashy attention seeker while her pops in sometimes shunned off to the side. The two are even known for their duel musical acts together: Billy Ray and Miley both starred in Hannah Montana togetherwhile Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc are blended together throughout the region of Bordeaux, and many other wine regions of the world!
While grown in Bordeaux and the Loire Valley for centuries, recent DNA studies have shown Cabernet Franc is also the parent grape of Hondarrabi, a grape that hails from the Basque region of Spain. Both France and Spain are eagerly playing tug of war with Cabernet Franc to declare their country its homeland. The evidence mounts high for both sides but one thing is clear – this grape cannot be ignored!
One of the cool things about Cabernet Franc is that there is a side of it for everyone. Do you like lighter reds with awesome acidity? Check. Are you a fan of wine with tart fruit notes like cranberries, raspberries, or currants? Check. Have you always wondered what notes of wet forest floor, pencil shavings, or vegetal things are like in wine? Cab Franc brings its ‘A-game’ in giving you tasting notes that will always leave you surprised.
Different parts of the world emphasize certain characteristics of Cabernet Franc. When grown in cool climates like the Finger Lakes, elements like the acidity and cranberry fruit are prominent. Cabernet Franc grown in Northern Italy tends to be quite light and herbaceous. The Loire Valley adores Cabernet Franc and this grape thrives there. You can get examples of Cabernet Franc that showcases stewed fruit and tannins or ones that have notes of gravel, flint, earth, and pepper, like in Oregon and Washington State.
Let’s raise a glass and celebrate the wonderfulness of this wild grape! On Saturday we’re pouring Cab Franc from the US, France, and Italy. Read more about the killer line-up here!