Cabernet Franc is a black grape from France, known for a) being an important part of Bordeaux blends, b) being the number one black grape in Loire, and c) being one of Cabernet Sauvignon’s parents.

Characteristics
The grapes are small with a fairly thin skin, with the consequence that tannin levels are lower compared with for example Cabernet Sauvignon.

This also means that Cabernet Franc wines tend to be me­di­um bodied.

Red fruit and ve­ge­tal fla­vours such as green bell pep­pers dom­i­nate. In blends, it tends to contribute also with flavours of tobacco and dark spice.

It is by nature a high yielding variety and thus needs to be held back in order to not over produce as this will increase the grape’s vegetative flavour aspects.

Wines
First and foremost, one has to recognise the classical Bordeaux blends of St. Emillon and Pomerol. Varietal wines from Loire are at their best when they are from the sub zones Chinon, Bourgueil and Saumur-Champigny

There are nice Cabernet Franc varietals produced in Napa Valley. In Hungary, the Villany region has shown to be a very good place for growing Cabernet Franc.

In Argentina as well as in Chile, high altitude growth places have produced some very good wines, although remaining relatively small in volume.

Food pairing
Thanks to high acidity levels, Cabernet Franc is a ver­sa­tile food com­pan­ion and will pair ex­cel­lently with for example roasted chicken or beef.

Thanks to its tendency to expose vegetal notes, it will also easily pair with dishes based on vegetables, for example stuffed bell peppers or tomatoes.

If young best served at 14-16°C/57-61°F. If aged it could be a good idea to serve at 16-18°C/61-64°F.

Where is it grown?
With its 53.042 ha/131,070 ac, representing an increase of nine percent between 2000 and 2010, Cabernet Franc is the seventeenth most planted grape world-wide.

  • France 36.302 ha/89,704 ac, Mpg rank 8, found in many regions with the main plantings being in Bordeaux and the Loire Valley
  • Italy 6.314 ha/15,602 ac. Mpg rank 25, found in many regions with the main plantings being in Treviso in the Veneto (Venice) region
  • USA 2.215 ha/2,215 ac. Mpg rank 20, found in several regions with a focus on California and especially Napa Valley
  • Hungary 1.352 ha/3,341 ac, Mpg rank 17, most planted areas in the regions Villany, and Kunsag
  • Chile 1.321 ha/3,264 ac. Mpg rank 10, with most plantings in the region O’Higgins just south of Santiago
  • Spain 849 ha/2,098 ac. Mpg rank 18, with most plantings in the region Albacete
  • Canada 664 ha/1,641 ac. Mpg rank 5, with most plantings in Ontario
  • Argentina 626 ha/1,547 ac. Mpg rank 27, found in all regions and with most plantings in Lujan de Coyo
  • Australia 591 ha/1,460 ac. Mpg rank 21, found in many regions and with most plantings in Pyrenees, in Victoria
  • China 507 ha/1,253 ac. Mpg rank 5, with most plantings in the central north region of Gansu

Plantings are also reported in Brazil 229 ha/566 ac, Cyprus 203 ha/502 ac, Croatia 95 ha/235 ac, Greece 23 ha/57 ac, and Germany 16 ha/40 ac.

History
There are many suggestions to Cabernet Franc’s origin. Recent findings suggest that it is likely to be in north-eastern Spain’s Basque Country.