Happy Cab Franc Day to all you wine lover’s out there! It’s always fun to find a great wine made primarily with this heavily planted (but somehow underrated) grape variety. Let’s take a short look at what makes this grape variety so very special.
Cab Franc is said to have it first notable appearance in the 1600’s, where cuttings brought by Cardinal Richelieu, and soon established in Bordeaux’s Libournais region. By the 18th century, its plantings were peppered around the right bank of Bordeaux, near areas such as St. Emilion, Pomorol, Cotes de Bourg, and Fronsac. In the Loire Valley – where it is locally known as Breton (named after an abbot from the Abbey of Bourgueil)- it is the grape of Chinon, Bourgueil, Saumur-Champigny, and Touraine.
Cabernet Franc is famous for wine geeks as being one of the parent grapes to not one, but TWO of the most popular red grapes on the planet. About a hundred years or so after Cabernet Franc came onto the scene, a chance field crossing of Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc gave the world Cabernet Sauvignon, a short time after, Cabernet Franc was crossed with Magdeleine Noire des Charentes to create the Merlot grape. Both of which have surpassed their parent variety in terms of popularity, and number of hectares planted worldwide throughout the decades.
While its offspring have gained mass appeal over the years, Cabernet Franc is not without its own accomplishments. Being a cool-climate varietal, it has the ability to be grown all across the globe, having significant acreage in Italy, New Zealand, China, Argentina, South Africa, Canada, and Australia. Labels such as Napa's Palazzo Cabernet Franc, Clos Rougeard Saumur-Champigny Le Bourg of French infamy, Tuscany's Antinori Guado al Tasso Matarocchio, Zorzal Piantao Cabernet Franc from Argentina, and even Virginia’s own Barboursville Cabernet Franc have made the grape a particular favorite of winemakers everywhere.
A lighter grape than Cab Sauv and Merlot, Cabernet Franc should be served around 60°F (the third shelf down or so in an Avintage DIVA Revolution Full Shelf). If you’re worried about price, never fear, you can find some real knockouts for under $20 from anywhere in the world! So, go out and see what you come across, you’ll be glad you did!