Giving Cabernet Franc a Chance

Staff Writer
The 'other' cabernet produces distinct wines from light and lively to structured and chiseled

Photo Sasabune Omakase Modified: Flickr/erin/CC 4.0

That respect starts in Bordeaux. Though cabernet sauvignon and merlot get all the publicity, one of the most famous wines of the region, Chateau Cheval Blanc, has cabernet franc as a major component

Thought it may not have the same amount of star power, that doesn’t mean cabernet franc is not worth your time or your wine glass. Let’s give it the respect it deserves. (And sorry, petit verdot and malbec. We haven’t forgotten about you.) 

That respect starts in Bordeaux. Though cabernet sauvignon and merlot get all the publicity, one of the most famous wines of the region, Chateau Cheval Blanc, has cabernet franc as a major component. Many other red wines from the so-called "Right Bank" of Bordeaux, like cheval blanc, also rely on a portion of cabernet franc. 

Head up north in France to the Loire Valley, and you’ll find a totally different expression of cabernet franc. Spicy, savory flavors, and notes of green pepper and black olive give these lighter style reds their distinctness. Look for wines from the regions of Chinon and Bourgueil, as well as Saumur-Champigny. And just because Loire Valley cabernet franc tends to be more delicate doesn’t make it any less serious or age-worthy. 

Is cabernet franc the sole province of France? Absolutely not. In the United States you can find it in wines from Washington, Oregon, California, New York, and Virginia. (And more.) 

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