Looking to stock up on some fine Cabernet Franc wine?
This versatile grape has enriched some of the most collectible red wines worldwide with its delicate balance and rich flavor profile!
Irrespective of your taste in wine, you’re sure to find a bottle of Cabernet Franc for your cellar - as long as you’ve done your homework on the types, brands, and prices.
If you haven’t, this article will take you through all you need to know about Cabernet Franc’s history, its major wine regions, taste, and food pairings.
You’ll also discover the best Cabernet Franc wines to buy this year, and the best way to buy them!
This article contains:
(Click on the links below to jump to a specific section)
- What is Cabernet Franc?
- Where is Cabernet Franc grown?
- What does Cabernet Franc taste like?
- Food Pairing with Cabernet Franc wine
- 10 best Cabernet Franc wines
- 2010 Clos Rougeard Saumur-Champigny Le Bourg
- 2013 Marchesi Antinori Tenuta Guado al Tasso Matarocchio Bolgheri Superiore
- 2016 Morlet Family Vineyards 'Force de la Nature' Cabernet Franc
- 2004 Inniskillin Legacy Edition Karl Kaiser Cabernet Franc Icewine
- 2016 Tor Wines Beckstoffer To Kalon Vineyard Cabernet Franc
- 2017 Duemani 'Duemani' Cabernet Franc Costa Toscana IGT
- 2005 The Islander Estate 'The Investigator' Cabernet Franc
- 2014 PerSe 'La Craie'
- 2009 Weingut Schloss Halbturn Cabernet Franc
- Casa Larga Fiori Delle Stelle Cabernet Franc Ice Wine
- How to buy the best Cabernet Franc wines?
- Buy the best Cabernet Franc and other red wines through Vinovest
What Is Cabernet Franc?
Cabernet Franc is a red wine grape varietal believed to have originated in France’s Basque country, close to the Spanish border.
It’s most commonly used as a blending grape in the famous Bordeaux blend, usually with Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. You’ll also find single varietal wine using Cabernet Franc made in the US and Loire Valley, France.
Interestingly, Cabernet Franc is also a parent red grape to almost every varietal in the Bordeaux blend. It’s one of the parent grapes to Cabernet Sauvignon, Carmenere, and Merlot.
Let’s take a look at the origins of this grape.
A Brief History of Cabernet Franc
The earliest records of Cabernet Franc wine were found in the right bank of the Bordeaux appellation of France in the 17th century. From here, the cuttings were transported to Bourgueil in the Loire Valley region.
The exact origins of its name aren’t entirely clear. But Cabernet Franc roughly translates to ‘black vine of France.’ In Bordeaux, the grape variety is known as Bouchet. It was named Breton in Loire Valley, after the monastery official who planted the first Cabernet Franc vines in the region.
By the 19th century, its fame had spread worldwide, and France’s Bordeaux and Loire Valley regions had become the Cabernet Franc capitals of the world. And from there, it spread to the new world of winemaking outside of Europe.
The super adaptive Cabernet Franc has now found a home in every major wine region on almost every continent.
Where Is Cabernet Franc Grown?
Let’s travel the world with this varietal to see where it’s grown.
Cabernet Franc is France’s sixth most widely planted grape variety. The Loire Valley (Anjou, Bourgueil, Touraine, Chinon, and Saumur-Champigny) and Bordeaux (Pomerol, in Libournais or ‘right bank’ region) contain most of the French Cab Franc estates.
Château Cheval Blanc (in Saint-Émilion, Bordeaux’s right bank) is particularly famous for capturing the essence of the French Cabernet Franc in a blend of two-thirds Cabernet Franc and one-third Merlot.
Check these articles out if you want to stock up your cellar with some of the celebrated French wines:
Cabernet Franc is widely planted across the northeastern wine regions of Friuli Venezia Giulia and Veneto, and in the heart of Tuscany in Chianti. In Bolgheri (of the Super Tuscan wines fame) it’s often blended with Cabernet Sauvignon grape to create balanced red wines (Bordeaux blend.)
Canadian winemakers use Cab Franc as a blending grape for their red blends.
You’d typically associate ice wine with white grapes like Vidal Blanc or Riesling. But, many winemakers in Niagara Peninsula (Ontario), British Columbia, and Lake Erie also make ice wine using Cabernet Franc, thanks to the grape’s frost resistance.
The vast, sunny plains of California are home to more than 3000 acres of Cabernet Franc vineyards. Growers in the United States (especially Napa Valley) value Cab Franc for its reliable ripening patterns and diverse taste profile.
This flexible varietal also grows well in the cooler climate of east coast plantations in Washington state and Virginia.
Cabernet Franc is also used to make ice wine in wine regions like Washington, Finger Lakes and Long Island in New York.
The world’s fifth-largest wine producer, Argentina, is known for its Malbec wines that contain small portions of Cabernet Franc.
Most of the top-shelf wine comes from wine regions like Mendoza, San Juan, La Rioja, Salta, Catamarca, Río Negro, and Buenos Aires.
6. Other regions
Cab Franc are also made in
- New Zealand
- South Africa
What Does Cabernet Franc Taste Like?
The robust Cabernet Franc grape vines take root in a range of different climate zones worldwide. And this gives rise to a mesmerizingly diverse flavor profile.
Typically, if you drink a Cab Franc from a warm region like Bolgheri in Tuscany, you’ll enjoy the delightful aroma and the sweet taste of a red fruit like strawberry, raspberry, or cherry.
But in cooler climates like Loire Valley and Ontario, Cabernet Franc wine tends to be more acidic and tart than sweet.
Nevertheless, you’ll find a persistent herbaceous aroma in Cabernet Franc from almost all regions.
Interestingly, Cabernet Franc is known for the unique flavor of bell pepper and black pepper. These peppery flavors set Cabernet Franc apart from all the other red wine grapes in its family.
You can also enjoy the taste of dark fruit like plum or black cherry and occasional whiffs of graphite and dark chocolate.
Apart from this, here are some defining characteristics of Cabernet Franc wines:
- Alcohol: 11.5–13.5% ABV
- Body: Medium
- Tannin content: Medium to high
- Acidity: Medium to high
This combination of characteristics gives you a variety of food pairing options with Cabernet Franc wine.
Food Pairing with Cabernet Franc Wine
Drink it with red meat dishes made in a tomato or vinegar-based sauce. This is an excellent combination to take in the bouncy acids of the wine.
Toss these dishes with a healthy dose of spice (like oregano, thyme, rosemary, and black pepper) to complement the spike of bell pepper flavors in your wine.
Cabernet Franc wine never fails to surprise and delight wine aficionados. So if you’re one of them, we have just the list for you to buy in 2020.
10 Best Cabernet Franc Wines Of 2020
Don’t worry about picking a favorite from this Cabernet Franc wine list. Just try them all!
1. 2010 Clos Rougeard Saumur-Champigny Le Bourg
This 2010 vintage comes from Clos Rougeard’s Le Bourg cru’s old vines, planted back in 1948. Their low yield is responsible for this supremely rare and high-value red wine.
This dense and sweet wine is a smoky mix of blackberries, black cherry, cedarwood, and rosemary. And you can enjoy it for another decade at least.
Price of 2010 Clos Rougeard Saumur-Champigny Le Bourg: $452
2. 2013 Marchesi Antinori Tenuta Guado al Tasso Matarocchio Bolgheri Superiore
This 2013 Cabernet Franc carries forward the rich winemaking legacy of the 17th century Guado al Tasso winery. Experience the layers of dark fruit like blackberry and dark currant unfold on your palate in this Italian wine. It’s good to drink at least till 2040.
Price of 2013 Marchesi Antinori Tenuta Guado al Tasso Matarocchio Bolgheri Superiore: $364
3. 2016 Morlet Family Vineyards 'Force de la Nature' Cabernet Franc
The Napa Valley based Morlet Family winery specializes in single vineyard wines made the old school way. Their wines are especially sought-after for their limited releases and special mail-order sales.
The Force de la Nature Cuvee is made only in exceptional vintages. And 2016 certainly qualifies as one.
This medium to full-bodied wine has a scent of rosehip and oolong tea, while hitting the perfect balance between acidity and tannin content.
Price of 2016 Morlet Family Vineyards 'Force de la Nature' Cabernet Franc: $847
4. 2004 Inniskillin Legacy Edition Karl Kaiser Cabernet Franc Icewine
Niagara Peninsula exports thousands of cases of delicately balanced sweet, ice wine each year. And Inniskillin is the jewel in the region’s crown.
Enjoy the medium to full-bodied 2004 with an equally sweet dessert as you take in its cran-apple and bubblegum notes.
Price of 2004 Inniskillin Legacy Edition Karl Kaiser Cabernet Franc Icewine: $382
5. 2016 Tor Wines Beckstoffer To Kalon Vineyard Cabernet Franc
Tor Wines was founded as recently as in 2001. But it draws from co-owner Tor Kenward’s 26-year-long winemaking career.
They’re well known for the exceptional deep reds made with the finest Cabernet Sauvignon grapes from Napa Valley. They also make a few occasional reds with a blend of Petit Verdot and Cabernet Franc.
This 2016 Cab Franc wine was aged two years before bottling, allowing it to develop a dense purple color and cassis aroma. The full-bodied wine is a lively mix of fruit, floral, and earthy flavors.
Price of 2016 Tor Wines Beckstoffer To Kalon Vineyard Cabernet Franc: $225
6. 2017 'Duemani' Cabernet Franc Costa Toscana IGT
Azienda Vitivinicola Duemani’s winery is located by Tuscany’s long coastline and specializes in biodynamic winemaking. Of the estate’s four vineyards, two are dedicated to Cabernet Franc.
Their 2017 vintage was gently pressed in cement barrels and aged 22 months in French oak barrels.
The lengthy process has given the wine its deep, ruby red color and savory notes of cinnamon, ginger, dark currants, and elderberries.
Price of 2017 Duemani 'Duemani' Cabernet Franc Costa Toscana IGT: $132
7. 2005 The Islander Estate 'The Investigator' Cabernet Franc
Jacques Luton’s estate covers almost all of Australia’s largest island - Kangaroo Island. Their flagship Cuvee, ‘The Investigator,’ is named after the French explorer ship that discovered the island nearly 200 years ago.
The 2005 Investigator celebrates Bordeaux style winemaking, with a dash of Sangiovese. It contains both floral and herbaceous aromas and a cherry tip taste.
Price of 2005 The Islander Estate 'The Investigator' Cabernet Franc: $141
8. 2014 PerSe 'La Craie'
La Craie, made with Cabernet Franc and Malbec, is just one of three Cuvees of this prestigious Argentine winemaker.
In it’s 552 bottlings, the 2014 La Craie delivers a chalky expression of Gualtallary’s limestone-rich soil.
It was aged for nearly one and a half years in oak barrels before bottling. This gives the wine a sophisticated texture and a fine minerality.
Price of 2014 PerSe 'La Craie': $183
9. 2009 Weingut Schloss Halbturn Cabernet Franc
Located on the formerly imperial property of Halbturn Palace, Weingut Schloss is also referred to as Austria’s winemaking royalty. It makes Cabernet Franc only in the best of vintages and dabbles in a variety of other red, white, and sparkling wines throughout the year.
The extremely limited batch of 2009 single varietal wine was fermented to perfection and aged 18 months in oak barrels. And its small quantity makes it an absolute treasure for wine collectors.
Price of 2009 Weingut Schloss Halbturn Cabernet Franc: $1,289
10. 2005 Casa Larga Fiori Delle Stelle Cabernet Franc Ice Wine
Casa Larga has been making Italian style wines for the past 45 years and is an icon of New York ice wine making.
Enjoy their 2005 Cabernet Franc for its flavors of pear and tropical fruit like pineapple and its earthy notes.
Price of Casa Larga Fiori delle Stelle Cabernet Franc Ice Wine: $120
Now, if you’re a true wine lover, you deserve to own some of the best Cabernet Francs in your collection.
How To Buy The Best Cabernet Franc Wines
You also have to make sure you’re not being cheated with a fake bottle!
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Enjoy your Earthy, Complex Cab Franc!
Winemakers around the world use Cabernet Franc to give their red wines notes of pepper, the depth of berries, and a herbal lift. And, truly exploring the range of Cabernet Franc wines will take you around the globe!
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