This grape varietal has been around since at least the 17th century when records began to be kept for such things, but was certainly well established at that time. For centuries, the French utilized Cabernet Franc in their famous Bordeaux style blends. Cabernet Franc is a very hardy grape, and more tolerant to weather fluctuations than some of the other Bordeaux varietals.
Cabernet Franc is similar to Cab Sauvignon, but with some distinct variations. Cabernet Franc tends to be lighter (in body and tannins) with higher acidity, and more prone to floral notes, particularly rose and violet. It is only in recent times that the Cabernet Franc variety has been embraced as a stand-alone grape anywhere outside the Loire region of France where they have long been producing Chinon.
Canada was one of the first countries to begin using Cabernet Franc on its own, specifically as Ice Wine. The grape’s ability to withstand significant weather fluctuations and it’s nice, crisp acidity makes it perfect for dessert wines. Cabernet Franc is now seen planted all over the world, particularly in North America in regions prone to heat waves and cold snaps. French Cabernet Franc tends to be more rustic and herbaceous, more suited to blending, North American Cabernet Franc tends towards more fruit forward with juicy, ripe fruit like raspberry, Strawberry and cassis; perfectly balanced with the pepper and spice.
Cabernet Franc is also remarkably food friendly, and is particularly good at drawing out savoury notes from most dishes. Pair with roasted or BBQ’d meats, savoury sausages, or lamb with mint sauce. Cabernet Franc is also versatile enough to pair with some of the heartier fish, such as mackerel or grilled tuna.
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Watch for upcoming announcement on the commercial comparison for this wine!