By Rachel Thralls
Happy Cabernet Franc Day! Cabernet Franc, often overshadowed by its more famous sibling Cabernet Sauvignon, deserves its own spotlight for the unique character and charm it brings to the glass. This grape variety traces its roots back to the Bordeaux region of France, where it has been cultivated for centuries. While often used in blends, Cabernet Franc has increasingly gained recognition as a standout single-varietal wine, showcasing its ability to stand tall on its own.
Fun and fast facts:
Cabernet Franc is believed to have been established in the Libournais region of southwest France sometime in the 17th century, when Cardinal Richelieu transported cuttings of the vine to the Loire Valley.
Cabernet Franc is a parent to Cabernet Sauvignon. The crossing occurred sometime during the middle 1600’s around Bordeaux, France. It is also the parent grape of Merlot and Carménère.
Cabernet Franc remains very popular in Bordeaux, particularly on the Right Bank where it produces some of the world’s most age-worthy wines. It has a second home in the Loire Valley, where it produces lighter styles thanks to the cool climate. Outside of France you’ll find fuller bodied, premium examples in Tuscany, California, and Chile.
The herbaceous character in Cabernet Franc is caused by a group of aroma compounds called methoxypyrazines or “pyrazines” for short.
Cabernet Franc has a spectrum of flavors ranging from red and black fruits to hints of green bell pepper, cured meats, graphite, tobacco and violet. The wine’s medium to full body, balanced acidity, and refined tannins contribute to its overall finesse.
Favorite Cabernet Franc food pairings:
Herb-crusted rack of lamb
Cheese pairings: Goat, feta, Camembert
A few favorite Sonoma County Cabernet Franc’s to celebrate with: