While it is often blended with  Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, Cabernet Franc grape shows its best when performing solo. Cabernet Franc wine is typically fragrant, fruity and flirtatious.

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One of the noble grape varieties, Cabernet Franc most likely originates from the Spanish Basque country. By the 17th Century, the grape found its home in Bordeaux. In this region, Cabernet Franc is mainly blended with Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot to create the famous red wines of Bordeaux. Interestingly, DNA research showed that all of these grapes are part of the same family.

Cabernet Franc’s second home is Loire Valley, in northern France. ​​There, Cabernet Franc makes elegant, fragrant, medium-bodied red wine. Nowadays, plantings of Cabernet Franc are found across Europe, including Bulgaria where it strives due to the warmer climate.

Ripe Cabernet Franc grape
Cabernet Franc grape at harvest

Aromas And Styles

The famous wine writer, Jancis Robinson, describes Cabernet Franc as “the feminine side of Cabernet Sauvignon.” She goes on saying that, “it is subtly fragrant and gently flirtatious rather than massively muscular and tough in youth. “ Indeed, Cabernet Franc wine is lighter in colour, with less tannins, more freshness and a smoother mouthfeel, compared to Cabernet Sauvignon. The primary fruit aromas of Cabernet Franc wine include red berries, such as strawberries and raspberries.

What makes this grape really stand out is its distinctive aroma, often described as bell pepper, or roasted pepper. In warmer climates this note becomes sweeter, more like a chili-spiced chocolate, but the peppery flavour is always there. Other aromas include crushed gravel, violets and pronounced notes of spices. Cabernet Franc wine is fresh, fragrant and easy to drink. It is particularly enjoyable after several years in the bottle.

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