Cabernet Franc is unique, special and the real princess of the red wine grape varietals.
More often than not, CabFranc is the hidden softer usually undisclosed smaller percentage partner in the assemblage or mix of wines varieties dominated by her big two Bordeaux varietal cousins Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon.
It’s hard to explain within the context of Bordeaux wine and viticulture why CabFranc is not more popular. As was proven during season 2013, as a vine and grape variety it has a number of key advantages over late ripening Cabernet Sauvignon and rot / coulure prone Merlot. I think there would only be two producers (Chateau Cheval Blanc and ourselves Paradise Rescued) in the region who shout out and showcase the full brilliance of this wonderful varietal. Across that world class wine region that is Bordeaux, I continue to hear from growers who are pulling up and replacing CabFranc in favour of Malbec or Merlot…. chasing the global trends now being established by the new world producers. But part of that trend towards smaller blocks and single varietal wines is also the hidden niche success of fine CabFranc.
Against a bold brutal world of big red wines, CabFranc is a different but more subtle player. When produced in a warmer climate such as Bordeaux, it’s finesse softness and silk show through. When lovingly grown with nicely ripened fruit, gone are the green grassy tastes and harsh tannins so often reported from cooler regions. In comes soft perfumed cherry fruit on the nose, a bright crimson colour, soft medium to full palate, gentle tannins and a long slightly spicy length.
Because of its subtlety and finesse, Cabernet Franc makes the perfect food wine for roast meats, gently spiced foods and all but the strongest richest cheeses. A delightful flexible food friendly wine.
Cabernet Franc is no spoilt princess, she prefers to create special moments and spoil others… that’s the kind of princess we all love!