We return one more week to talk about grapes, and today we examine a variety that catches the attention of wine lovers by adapting to both coupages and monovarietal wines. It is Cabernet Franc, a grape from the French region of Médoc. The first records that are known about the existence of this variety date from the eighteenth century.
It is said that it is a very versatile grape variety because it is used in many cases as a complement to other varieties and is perfectly adapted to highlight the character of the other varieties. In fact, when crossing this grape with the Sauvignon Blanc, the famous Cabernet Sauvignon emerges, to enter a career that would lead it to be one of the most produced and consumed in the entire world.
If we talk about its plant, we will highlight its erect carriage and its good performance. It supports bunches with a small size, and very compact. It has an early maturation and gives excellent results when growing in inland areas. In spite of its good aptitudes, it is a very sensitive vine to powdery mildew, mildew, and black rot.
Regarding the grape, it stands out for being small, with fine skin, non-pigmented pulp, and bluish color. It is characterized by being less tannic and astringent than other varieties such as Cabernet Sauvignon. Its aromas are reminiscent of fresh fruits such as blackcurrant, violet or raspberry. In addition, its wines are very elegant and light, and show very vegetable characteristics with notes of pepper.
There is some controversy regarding its aging. Certain experts, like Robert Parker, insists that the wine from Cabernet Franc grapes does not present a good aging. However, Jancis Robinson recalls an experiment that took place in the seventies, in which a barrel of wine of this variety was kept in Bordeaux for 15 years. After bottling it, they insisted that it even surpassed in quality other varieties such as Merlot or Cabernet Sauvignon.
The Cabernet Franc is one of the most planted grapes in the French region of Bordeaux, especially in St-Émilion and Pomerol. In addition, it is one of the main varieties of the wine region of Touraine, in the Loire. Outside Europe, it has been always planted to achieve the character of Bordeaux wines. However, many viticultures opt for it at present because of its own merits. Highlights its production in California and the state of Washington. In addition, it develops perfectly in the northeastern United States, since the climate is too cold to grow Cabernet Sauvignon. Therefore, this variety has success in Long Island, Virginia, Pennsylvania or Finger Lakes. In addition, in Ontario, it has been used to produce icewine.
After a long journey and many years accompanying other varieties to enhance their potential, Cabernet Franc is now chosen to produce monovarietal wines, thus betting on the personality of its nuances.