If Cabernet Sauvignon was Elvis, then Cabernet Franc is Carl Perkins – every bit as deserving of the spotlight, but for one reason or another, not as well-known in the mainstream. But that may be changing.
Although Cabernet Franc’s mostly just a supporting act in France’s Bordeaux region, it enjoys a bit more notoriety on its own just a little north, in the Loire Valley (specifically in the region of Chinon – those wines are KAPOW in the glass, and a big favorite of somms and wine nerds everywhere). Plus, its popularity is surging in North and South American vineyards, Argentina and California in particular. My prediction? It’s about to get big. Like, “step aside Elvis” big.
So, in honor of Cabernet Franc Day (celebrated every December 4), I’ve cobbled together a list of the top three reasons we should all be giving Cab Franc a little more credit. And making space for it at our dinner tables.
It’s a pretty little thing.
An early ripener, Cabernet Franc has a beautifully silky texture, with velvet tannins and mouthwatering acidity that compels you to take sip after sip. Typically, you’ll smell and taste plums, raspberry, vegetal notes (green bell pepper is common), savory herbs, mineral, and violet flowers – sometimes delicate spice if the winemaker’s used any oak. And because it produces wine that tends toward the lower end of the alcohol spectrum, it won’t bowl you over with booze.
It loves food.
Kind of a –duh– thing to say – doesn’t all wine go with food? Well, yes and no. Some wines do better with certain foods, and in this devotee’s opinion, Cab Franc is one of the more versatile foodie reds out there. Why? Well, remember the tannins and acid I mentioned? And all the earthy/savory fruit flavors? In balanced doses, they accentuate all the best things about your dish. The fatty goodness in a steak … the tomatoey-zing of marinara sauce … the rich creaminess of a good cheese. Kinda hard to go wrong (maybe steer clear of oysters).
Without it, there’d be no Cabernet Sauvignon.
Yep – this little grape is actually the proud papa of Cabernet Sauvignon, which is the most popular and well-known red grape on the planet. (Cab Sauv’s other parent is Sauvignon Blanc – I was surprised the day I learned that, too!)
We can’t leave you without some tunes – what kind of celebration is it without some music? So check out our BONUS, “Frank” themed playlist and kick back. Because now you know a little more about what’s up in your glass. Cheers!