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Cabernet Franc Grape Variety

(ka-behr-nay FRAHNK)

Cabernet Franc (or Cab Franc) is red wine grape varietal that is widely grown around the world. It serves as a blending grape in the famous red wines of Bordeaux, yet is also known for its effort as a stand-alone varietal in Loire Valley, France. Through DNA analysis in the early 1990s, it was discovered that sometime in the 18th century, Cabernet Franc had crossed with Sauvignon Blanc to become parents of Cabernet Sauvignon. Therefore, it’s logical to believe that Cabernet Franc would share many of the same characteristics as Cabernet Sauvignon, though in a slightly subdued version. Cabernet Franc tends to be more lightly pigmented (thinner skins) and lesser tannin with a smoother mouthfeel as compared to its notable off-spring.

Aroma/Flavor Components

Cabernet Franc is a fairly aromatic varietal that offers nuances of garden (herbs and bell pepper), dried red fruits (strawberry, raspberry, black cherry, and cassis), tobacco shop (slightly cedar and tobacco), and floral (violets).

Structural Components

This grape produces dry red wines with a medium body, medium to high acidity, and medium tannin levels.

Significant Locations

Cabernet Franc is a significant varietal in the blended French red wines of Bordeaux along with Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. Cabernet Franc also produces single varietal wines in Loire Valley’s Chinon (shee-NYOHN) and Bourgueil (bohr-GEEL) appellation (where the grape is locally referred to as Breton). This varietal is also produced with some popularity in New World locations such as Oregon, Washington state, California, Canada (Niagara Peninsula and Okanagan Valley), and New York (Finger Lakes).

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