Cabernet Franc is a French red grape used to make a fruity flavored bright colored varietal wine, though it is used for making a number of blends too. Cabernet Franc wine with its berry flavors; particularly the raspberry, strawberry and plum flavors, and lower tannin levels, is a popular varietal wine. This wine is considered finer and softer than its cousin the Cabernet Sauvignon. Cabernet Franc is blended with Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot to make remarkable blends. The grape is one of the major red wine varieties in the world.
Origin of Cabernet Franc Wine
Cabernet Franc originated in the Libournais region of South Western France in the 17th century and also in the Loire Valley when Cardinel Richelieu transported the cuttings to the valley for plantation. The grape was also planted in Abby of Bourgueil by Brenton, an abbot whose name was later closely associated with the grape. Fronsac, Pomerol, and St. Emilion are the other French regions where the grape was planted in the 18th century. The quality of the Cabernet Franc wine produced was of superior quality. The DNA evidences of Cabernet Sauvignon showed that it is an outcome of the cross between Cabernet and Sauvignon.
Cabernet Franc Wine Regions
Cabernet Franc ranks amongst the top twenty widely planted gape varieties. Apart from France, its region of origin, the grape is grown in other regions of the world too like the New World European countries, Kazakhstan, and some Asian countries like China. Here are the major regions in which Cabernet Franc wine is produced-
• France- Apart from the Loire Valley and Libournais regions that are already mentioned Bergerac and Madillon AOC and later Bordeaux were the other regions where the grape was planted.
• Italy- Cabrnet Franc was planted in a number of Italian regions which include north eastern region of Friuli, Veneto and the southern region of Puglia. There is a recent surge in the plantations in the Tuscany regions, especially those of Marmma and Bolgheri regions. The grape of this region is well acclaimed for the finesse it adds to the blended wines of this region.
The other regions of Europe where the Cabernet Franc wine is produced are Hungary, Slovenia, Spain and Kosovo. It is also produced in parts of Canada like the Niagara Peninsula of Ontario and Okanagan Valley of British Columbia. In the USA the wine was produced in the California regions of Napa and Sonoma. The wine was also produced in other New World regions like Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Chili and Argentina.
Preparation of Cabernet Franc Wine
When Cabernet Franc is used for making the varietal wine its tannin levels need to be controlled well. The grape is best crushed at a low temperate with a soak period of 3-5 days at 50 degree F. to prevent excess alcoholic fermentation and also to remove the excess skin tannins. The grapes are then fermented at a higher temperature of 76 F – 86 F and then pressed to remove the seed tannins. The wine is then racked and then made to undergo malolactic fermentation to reduce the acidity. The wine should be racked a number of times before being bottled to make it clear and mature.
Food Pairing for Cabernet Franc
Cabernet Franc wine pairs well with a large number of foods mostly poultry dishes, couscous with meat, Italian pasta lasagna, Middle Eastern dishes, vegetable pizza and Greek foods. Blue cheeses and pears also team with this well.
Serving Cabernet Franc
Cabernet Franc is best served warm to downplay the dryness and enhance the fruity flavors. It is best served at 65- 70. Serving the wine without stirring is recommended in a short and wide glass. The wine is usually backed with a second wine and the one that is best suited for the purpose is a Primitivo.