All About Cab Franc

Free tasting | Saturday, July 28, 2018 | 4-6PM


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. See you there!

The killer Line-up!

2014 Bloomer’s Creek Cabernet Franc (New York, USA) | Kim Engle and Debra Bermingham created an excellent example of a cooler climate Cabernet Franc. This wine is from the Finger Lakes where before becoming a vineyard in 1999 was fields of raspberries. After fermenting for about 2-3 weeks the wine is aged in old Hungarian oak barrels for 10 months on its lees. This wine is both luscious and light with a velvety body and notes of tart raspberries, cranberries, and green pepper.

2017 Division-Villages ‘Béton’ (Oregon, USA) | Cabernet Franc is the power horse behind this Béton blend from Division at a whopping 65%. Its body is very classically French (Pinot Noir, Gamay, and Côt are the other grapes) with an Oregonian soul. The grapes were grown in Applegate Valley in Southern Oregon during the wildfires and the flames amplified the smoky Mezcal like quality Cabernet Franc can demonstrate. Blackberry, spice, and vegetal notes also make up this cool blend from Tom Monroe and Kate Norris!

2016 D’Orsaria Cabernet Franc (Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Italy) | The Cecchini family certainly creates wine with an eye on the past; their name and rambunctious label is taken from the word bear ‘Orso’ in Italian and inspired by the local bears that once lived in the surrounding woods. Their Cabernet Franc is a great example of what a playful wine this grape can produce. After being aged in tank for 8 months it is light, herbaceous, with notes of ripe cherry tomatoes. 

2016 Terregaie ‘Brando’ Cabernet Franc (Veneto, Italy) | This wine is a Veneto-Salem wine baby-if you can wrap your mind around that concept! While grown in a family winery from Salvatore, Rita, and Silvia Lovo on the Western end of the Eugenian hills the label was designed by a Salem resident, whose large fluffy white dog, Brando is the namesake to this killer Cab Franc! This wine is tart, light with vegetal and raspberry notes. If you need a wine to pair well with practically any food, this Cabernet Franc is an awesome bet.

2016 Chateau de Brézé, Clos Mazurique Saumur (Loire Valley, France) | This vineyard has been around for hundreds of years but recently converted to organic farming practices when father and son team, Yves and Arnaud Lambert, bought the property in 2009. It’s surrounded by tiny slopes and hills and was grown on alluvial and tuffeau limestone. It has a soft body and notes of pencil shavings, wet forest floor, and blueberries.

2015 Charles Jouget ‘Les Petit Roches’ Chinon (Loire Valley, France) | A former painter and sculptor, Charles Joguet started his winery in 1957 because of a love affair with the grape Cabernet Franc. Nowadays, Kevin Fontaine runs the winery but is still equally committed to producing excellent wine. This Cab Franc was grown on white limestone and clay soil and was aged in barrel for 12-15 months. It has notes of stewed strawberries and raspberries and a light and tannic body.

2015 Château du Breuil, L'Anjou Rouge (Loire Valley, France) | This beautiful 19th century Château du Breuil sits on the banks of Layon, a tributary of the Loire Valley, and since1822 has produced some of the best wine in the area. Managed by Michel Petitbois and former sommelier David Vigan, Breuil employs all organic practice and are exploring biodynamics. The estate comprises of 30 hectares, the soils are mainly schist, and annual production is about 7,000 cases. This Rouge is a blend of Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon and is rich enough wine to pair with gamey meats and cheeses.