by Lori Budd
#CabFrancDay is fast approaching on Sunday, December 4th. How can you prepare? All you need to do is purchase a bottle of Cabernet Franc by 8pm EST on its special day, when Lori Budd founder of #CabFrancDay will host the second annual #CabFrancDay Twitter chat. Then pop the cork and join the fun!
To familiarize yourself with Cabernet Franc, here are ten fabulous facts:
- Cabernet Franc is typically thought of as an essential blending grape found primarily in Bordeaux-style red wine blends.
- Cabernet Franc is the parent of several of our favorite grape varietals. Thanks to a natural crossing between Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc, we enjoy Cabernet Sauvignon. Its crossing with Magdeleine Noire des Charentes led to Merlot, and Carmenere came about due to its cross with Gros Cabernet.
- Cabernet Franc is one of the twenty most widely planted grape varieties in the world.
- Flavor characteristics of the Cabernet Franc grape range from sweeter notes like plum, blackberry, violets, raspberry and blueberry to the more savory, like sage, bay leaf, rosemary, tobacco, bell pepper and eucalyptus.
- Cabernet Franc tends to be lower in tannins and acids than Cabernet Sauvignon. It is typically not as full bodied but is more aromatic, ripens earlier and fairs better in colder weather than its offspring.
- Cabernet Franc goes by many names! Aceria, Acheria, Arrouya, Bordo, Bouchet, Bouchy (Gascony), Breton, Burdeas Tinto, Cabernet Aunis, Cabernet Franco, Capbreton Rouge, Carmenet (Médoc), Fer Servandou, Gamput, Grosse Vidure, Hartling, Kaberne Fran, Messanges Rouge, Morenoa, Noir Dur, Petit Fer, Petit Viodure, Petite Vidure, Petite Vignedure, Plant Breton, Plant Des Sables, Trouchet Noir, Véron, Véron Bouchy, Véronais and Cabernet Gris.
- Need to get your grape geek on? In order to identify Cabernet Franc, observe its clusters, berries, leaves and shoots while on the vine. Clusters: small to medium, cylindrical to slightly conical with shoulders, mostly well filled.Berries: small, round, blue-black berries. Leaves: medium, mostly 5-lobed, closed, narrow U-shaped petiolar sinus, lateral sinuses (particularly superior) often have small teeth at their base, relatively narrow, sharp teeth, rough, bumpy surface, light, tufted hair on lower surface. Shoot tips: felty with red margin, first unfolded leaf has red-bronze highlights.
- If you are looking for a French Cabernet Franc, it is most known in three mid-Loire villages: Chinon, Bourgeuil and Samur-Champgny.
- In North America, Cabernet Franc is enjoying a renaissance with producers from California and Washington to New York’s Hudson River AVA and even Canada growing and bottling this noble blending grape under its own varietal label.
- Want a Cabernet Franc in your glass with dinner? Cabernet Franc pairs nicely with a wide range of foods: Beef steaks, pork roasts, ham, lamb, salmon, mushrooms, green olives and peppers. Are you a wine and cheese lover? The following cheeses pair perfectly: Blue, Brie, Camembert, Cheddar, Fontina, goat cheese, Gorgonzola, Port Salut, aged Gouda and Swiss.
Why do we celebrate #CabFrancDay on December 4th? There is historical significance to this date. Cabernet Franc is believed to have been established in the Libournais region of southwest France sometime in the 17th century when Cardinal Richelieu transported cuttings from the Abbey of Bourgeil to the Loire Valley. December 4this the anniversary of his death.
Cheers and see you on the #CabFrancDay chat!