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Cabernet Franc Makes for Light, Fruity Wine

The Cabernet Franc grape provides the winemakers with light wine up to medium heavy red wine. Aromas of blackberry and blackcurrant are mainly detectable; occasionally such a red wine features a slight herb taste. In terms of tannin structure, this wine is situated between a Cabernet Sauvignon and a Merlot, not as hard as the former, yet not as soft as the latter. This middle position makes this grape very popular for cuvees, especially in combination with Cabernet Sauvignon. Cabernet Franc is also an important element of the famous Bordeaux Blend. Winemakers in California and Australia likewise bottle the wine on its own, even though only in small amounts. Cabernet Franc is important for winemakers for more reasons than its compatibility with other grapes. This variety is not only a parent of one, but two of the most important red grape varieties worldwide. With a cross of Sauvignon BlancCabernet Sauvignon originated; and with a cross of a currently unknown variety Merlot arose. As a result, nearly every wine lover enjoys Cabernet Franc, one way or another.

Cabernet Franc Ripens Quickly and Is Robust

Cabernet Franc grapes ripen similar to Merlot. The plant buds quickly and grows speedily. This is why the grape is less sensitive to bad weather conditions and is considered to be a winemaker’s insurance, even more than Merlot. With Cabernet Franc, winemakers usually have a good yield. Yet even this grape has its flaws; it is susceptible to frost and loses its fruits quickly. All in all though, it is one of the more robust varieties for red wine, which is why it can be found in cooler areas.

Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Frank and Bouchet

The difference between Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Frank: there is none! Cabernet Frank is just the name in some eastern areas of Northern Italy, but the grape is the same. In and around St-Émilion as well as on the right side of Gironde Cabernet Franc is also called Bouchet. In this area, the grape is even more important than the infamous Cabernet Sauvignon.

New World Wine from Cabernet Franc

Generally, winemakers of the New World use Cabernet Franc as a blend with other grape varieties. The grape is especially used for the Bordeaux Blend. New Zealand and North America have created some champions and in South America also, winemakers use this grape increasingly. South Africa is known for a high alcohol content and highly concentrated wine, which is why the light Cabernet Franc can only rarely be found here.

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