Cabernet Franc is a fun one to experiment with. It’s a grape that is typically associated with Bordeaux blends, where it really shines, but in recent years you are seeing more and more straight Cabernet Franc bottles. And I’m fan. Cabernet Franc is kind of a little brother to Cabernet Sauvignon. They share some similar characteristics (red/black berry fruit) but Cabernet Franc is generally a little softer, not as dominant, and exudes more pepper, spice and earthy tones.
On a recent trip to Napa, I found more and more of the winemakers offering straight 100% Cabernet Franc bottles. One that stands out that I enjoyed was The Fury from Revolver Wine Company (and they have a great little tasting room in Yountville).
Cabernet Franc is typically priced less than Cabernet Sauvignon since it hasn’t yet achieved the same level of fame (and arguably, finesse). You will find a few Cabernet Franc bottles starting around $10 with many hovering around that $40-60 mark.
I’d recommend trying to find a straight 100% Cabernet Franc bottle to start with so you get a good idea what the grape tastes like. California, Washington State and France’s Loire Valley (prominent area is Chinon) are good places to start. From there, you can begin to enjoy the nice red wines that are blended with Cabernet Franc, especially many of the Bordeaux wines. It will be easier to pick out the Cabernet Franc characteristics and you will begin to determine if you like blends with more or less Cabernet Franc.
Your Cabernet Franc Check List:
– California Cabernet Franc (you should be able to find a few that are 100% Cabernet Franc)
– Bordeaux blend that includes Cabernet Franc
– See if you can find a Cabernet Franc from the Loire Valley in France. Chinon is a popular region for Cabernet Franc and one of the more widely available in the US
– Cabernet Franc from Washington State (see Walla Walla)
– Up and coming Cabernet Franc region: Canada