Cabernet Franc - Red Wine Grape

Cabernet Franc, Bordeaux and elsewhere...
Classic Image of Cabernet Franc Grapes Cabernet franc image first published in Traité général de viticulture : ampélographie / publiée sous la direction de P. Viala ; secrétaire général V. Vermorel, avec la collaboration de A. Bacon.. [et al] Paris: Masson et Cie, 1901-1910.
vol. 2 plate 70

Illustration courtesy of the State Library of South Australia, Wine Literature of the World website.

Cabernet Franc was known in the Bordeaux region of southwestern France by the end of the Eighteenth Century. In France Cabernet Franc is found in the Loire Valley, and in Bordeaux especially in the famous St. Emilion and Pomerol districts. It is now recommended for planting throughout France. It is widespread in northeast Italy and Chile, Hungary, and Yugoslavia. In the United States it is grown mostly in California and New York.

Given their complementary characteristics, Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon vines are often planted in the same vineyard as a sort of insurance policy. Cabernet Franc grapes ripen earlier and their vines survive cold winters better. On the other hand, Cabernet Sauvignon vines are more resistant to spring frosts.


Cabernet Franc wines are highly acidic with moderate tannins. They are aromatic and spicy, have berry flavors, and tend to age well. Cabernet Franc is a major component of Bordeaux wines, many of which are world class. In the Médoc and Graves districts it is blended with Cabernet Sauvignon and Malbec, while in St Emilion and Pomerol it is blended with Merlot. On a more prosaic tone, elsewhere in France it is blended with more plebian grapes. In the Loire Valley it is blended with Malbec and is also popular as a varietal wine. Some Italian Chiantis are blends of Cabernet Franc and Sangiovese. Australia has found success with unblended Cabernet Franc and with Bordeaux-type blends of Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Malbec.

Cabernet Franc-based wines are often enjoyed with Patés, Couscous, Pork Chops, and Rabbit.

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