The Other Cab — Cabernet Franc

At The Wine Rack

with Christopher Reckord

Thursday, October 25, 2018

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At a recent industry tasting I was reminded of the other “cab” that produces very delicious wines — Cabernet Franc. Cabernet Franc is a French black grape variety, the sixth most planted black grape in France and one of the 20th most planted in the world, and is most often overlooked by its offspring Cabernet Sauvignon that it parented with Sauvignon Blanc.

Cabernet Franc typically makes wines that are lighter in colour with softer tannins and not as full-bodied as Cabernet Sauvignon but not as medium-bodied as Merlot. This varietal is predominately grown in Bordeaux to be used as a blending grape in some of the world's very best wines, but there are some regions in the Loire and in an increasing number of other wine-producing regions globally that have been producing well-balanced fruit-forward perfumed fresh medium-to-full-bodied red wines with 100% Cabernet Franc. In addition to being grown in France and Italy, sizable plantings of Cabernet Franc are found in Spain, Greece (where it is known as tsapournakos), Bulgaria, Slovenia and Croatia.

If you like Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec and Merlot, you will love Cabernet Franc wines which have a lighter and smoother mouthfeel than their offspring, but can sometimes have the same intensity.

I had the opportunity to enjoy two great bottles sourced locally, one was from Argentina produced by Trivento under its ultra-premium label Golden Reserve Black Series, and the other from California which is the first Lodi Cabernet Franc wine ever produced by Michael David Winery and one of the few produced from the Lodi region. Here are the winemaker's tasting notes for each:

Trivento Golden Reserve Black Series Cabernet Franc, Argentina

Winemaker's Tasting Notes: Deep red with violet hues and an intense aroma of red berries such as strawberries, raspberries and cherries. The oak provided notes of vanilla, clove and smoke. The aromatic profile is complex and powerful. Soft and exquisite tannins impact in the mouth. Juicy and energetic finish.

Michael David Inkblot, Cabernet Franc, Lodi, Central Valley, California.

Winemaker's Tasting Notes: Like staring into an inkwell, the 2015 Cab Franc is near black, laced with a dark purple edge. Inky, pulpy and thick, the wine is decadent with flavours of dark berry, chocolate ganache, tobacco leaf and red cherry. The finish is exaggerated and lengthy as a myriad of dark fruit and spiced flavours continue to linger.

Do expand your palate and try something new and different today.

Christopher Reckord — Wine Enthusiast and CEO of Managed IT services provider tTech Limited. Send your questions and comments to You can also follow me on Facebook, Instagram @chrisreckord and on Twitter: @Reckord

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