By the late 17th century, the grape was established in the
vineyards on the Right Bank of Bordeaux, from which cuttings
were taken to establish the varietal in the Loire Valley. This
has led to two distinct wine styles: in Bordeaux wines from
the Right Bank (Fronsac, St-Emilion and Pomerol), Cabernet
Franc is used in a blend with Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot.
Loire Valley (Anjou, Bourgueil, Chinon, and Saumur-Champigny),
Cabernet Franc produces single-varietal wines.
Worldwide, Cabernet Franc is now one of the twenty most widely-planted
grape varietals. Plantings are found throughout Europe, in
the New World, even China and Kazakhstan. In many regions,
it is planted as a component of a Bordeaux-style blend, playing
a supporting role to Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. In parts
of northeast Italy, New Zealand, Long Island and California
it is frequently vinted as a single varietal. In Canada, it
is used to produce ice wines and in Washington state, it is
produce rosé wines.
Interest in the grape started with California wine makers
who wanted to replicate the Bordeaux blend. In the 1980s, heightened
interest in Cabernet Franc lead to an increase in plantings
that helped push the total acreage of Cabernet Franc in California
to 3,400 acres.
In Santa Ynez Valley, the long east-west valley that stretches
from the San Rafael mountains to the Pacific Ocean produces
a range of vine-growing conditions that are perfect for Pinot
Noir and Chardonnay to the west and equally fantastic for Bordeaux
varietals such as Cabernet Franc to the east. Fog and clouds
from the ocean roll up the valley to produce cool nights that
keep the acidity in the grapes; the skies clear mid-morning
to give the vines the sunlight and heat needed to ripen the
grapes to perfection. The eastern part of Santa Ynez Valley
is so distinct that it has been awarded its own Happy Canyon
of Santa Barbara appellation, with two more AVAs in the
Specific micro-climates within the larger Santa Barbara County
have encouraged vineyards to plant Cabernet Franc - examples
are Tinaquac Vineyard in Santa Maria and Alisos Canyon Vineyard.
In northern California, Cabernet Franc finds a welcome home
in Sonoma County, where, within the broad east-west expanse
bounded by the moderating Pacific Ocean and a range of low
mountains, there is a land of unlimited potential for
grape growing and wine making.
Cabernet Franc makes a bright pale red wine and contributes
finesse and a peppery perfume to blends with more robust grapes.
Depending on growing region and style of wine, additional aromas
can include tobacco, raspberry, and cassis, sometimes even
Cabernet Franc in the Press
Sad Plight of Cabernet Franc - an Underrated Grape in
Francly Speaking in TableWine.com
Project Cabernet Franc - by WineDoctor
Variety Focus: Cabernet Franc - by The Sedimentalist
Santa Ynez Valley Hosts Franc Fest - by Wines & Vines