Back on April 17, 2019, I wrote a blog article on Cabernet Franc (“cab-err-nay-fronk”). You can read that blog HERE. Since that time I have become an even bigger fan of Cabernet Franc. So much so I have decided to add a Cab Franc to our line of Glenwood Cellars wines, and we will put it under the Tiedemann label.
I am in the process of purchasing either some 2019 or 2020 Cabernet Franc “juice” from Ballentine Vineyards. I want to produce a hundred plus cases of Cabernet Franc. I hope to blend this 2019 or 2020 vintage in the first part of this year. The 2020 juice has to be tested to make sure it is smoke free from the Napa fires several months ago.
The Reasons You Should be Drinking Cabernet Franc
As I mentioned in my first article on Cab Franc, it is not a wine that many wine drinkers drink. It is not as popular as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot or Pinot Noir. People just are not as familiar with it as they are with other wines. I believe, like many other wines, you need to drink it and acquire a taste for it before you can drink it regularly. It is very similar to a Cabernet Sauvignon in that respect.
Cabernet Franc is More than a Blending Grape
Cabernet Franc originated in an area near the Spanish and France border and comes from the region known as Basque. The grape dates back to the 17th century when it was planted in the Bordeaux region and soon thereafter got hooked up with Sauvignon Blanc and became the parent of the most known grape in the world: Cabernet Sauvignon. According to Wine-Searcher.com, recent DNA research indicates Cabernet Franc is also possibly one of Merlot’s parents.
Although used heavily throughout the world as a blending grape, it certainly can stand-up and be vinified alone. It is produced on its own in both the U.S. and in Canada. It grows best in the cooler regions of these two countries.
In the U.S., Cabernet Franc wines taste much differently. The earthiness you get in some French and other European wines is not as noticeable in our U.S. wines and is replaced by strictly fruit flavors such as blackberries, black cherries and strawberries.
A Cabernet Franc is a little lighter in color than Cabernet Sauvignon as the grape’s skins are much thinner. There are a wide variety of tastes to Cabernet Franc depending on what the vineyard’s terroir is. Aromas and tastes can range from strawberry, roasted pepper, red plum, raspberry, bell pepper, crushed gravel and chile pepper. The taste profile is dry, medium-bodied, with medium to high acidity and medium to high tannins.
California Cabernet Francs, due to warmer weather, tend to have more sweet and dried fruit flavors. This warmer climate Cabernet Franc often produces aromas of a sweeter red pepper flavor or aroma. However, most California Cabernet Francs are, more often than not, a fruit forward style wine.
Cabernet Franc Can Age
The natural tannins in Cabernet Franc, coupled with oak barrel aging, can produce a wine that has a great structure. That wine needs to develop and age over time. Cab Franc is designed to age as good as any grape because of its high acidity levels which it retains quite well over time. The bright fruit flavors that it has give it more lift during the aging process, allowing it to mellow over a longer period of time. Most Cab Francs will age from 10 to 20 years without any trouble — this assumes they are stored properly in good cellar conditions.
My Cabernet Franc
I have not had the opportunity to taste the Cabernet Franc the vineyard is suggesting I use for my production. Our winemaker, Bruce Devlin, is saying it is quite good. I would love to be there tomorrow tasting it, but with the Covid-19 spike traveling is unfeasible.
When I produce the Cabernet Franc, my goal is to have a wine that is very fruit forward on the nose with a touch of earthiness at the end. On the mid palate I would like to have a lot of red fruit that takes you to a balanced finish with just a touch of acidity and a nice chewy mouthfeel.
We’ll just have to wait and see how the Tiedemann Cabernet Franc turns out in a couple of years. Keep your fingers crossed!!
The next time you are at your wine store picking up wine, I suggest you forget buying a couple of extra Cabernet Sauvignons and instead select a couple of Cabernet Francs.
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