What is Cabernet Franc and where is it found?
Globally there are just over 50,000 hectares of Cabernet Franc planted, about two-thirds of it in France where it is widely planted in Bordeaux. You’ll also find it in north east Italy, California and Chile. Here in Spain it is a less common grape, but can still be found in Castilla la Mancha, Catalunya and Valencia. It is often blended with Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot to add bouquet and complexity to the wines.
Cabernet Franc’s main characteristics
Cabernet Franc is an early budding, medium ripening grape variety with medium to high acidity which adapts well to different soil types. It has a different growing cycle to Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, which is one of the reasons why it is such a popular blending partner; the percentages of each grape can be adjusted from vintage to vintage, depending on how warm or cool it has been, to help ensure consistent quality.
What does Cabernet Franc taste like?
Cabernet Franc is fresher, subtler and more herbal than Cabernet Sauvignon, with gentler tannins. In northern climes it tends to produce greener, more herbaceous wines with notes of bell pepper and pencil lead and bursts of young red fruit. Further south, that greener profile dissipates and gives way to riper fruit flavours like raspberry or blackcurrant.
Where can I try some Cabernet Franc?
Cabernet Franc’s adaptability means you’ll find a variety of styles depending on the climate where it has been produced. In Spain, single varietals can be hard to find, but our favourite example has got to be CF from our friends at Altolandon in DO Manchuela.