If there’s one thing I’m a sucker for it’s an underdog. This is particularly true when it comes to wine. Chances are, if a certain wine vintage or type is dismissed by aficionados, I’ll be the one singing it’s praise. Which brings us neatly to this weeks wine: Cabernet Franc.
This criminally under-appricated vintage is one of the parents of the more popular Cabernet Sauvignon, and often finds itself mixed into Bordeaux blends. However, those who sample it in its purest form will find it to be a more subtle and delicate alternative to muscular Sauvignon.
Cabernet Franc is a medium-bodied wine with fairly high acidity and tannins. The wine is surprisingly savory with roasted peppers, chill peppers, strawberries, and plums being the dominant flavors. Other flavors you can expect include: floral, spicy, peppery, and herbal notes, as well as hints of cherry, raspberry, and blackberry.
Here’s one area where Cabernet Franc really shines. Thanks to it’s fairly down-the-middle profile, the wine easily pairs with many food types and tastes.
Cabernet Franc pairs well with pretty much any meat. Try it with roasts, burgers, and stews. Thanks to its acidity levels it also works well with tomato based meat dishes. In terms of vegetable pairings, try it with red peppers, beans, eggplant, and arugula. Cabernet Franc also pairs very well with fresh herbs and spices of all kinds.
In terms of cheese, Cabernet Franc pairs extremely well with goats cheese, camembert, and feta.
Wines to try
Cabernet Franc is grown and bottled in a number of countries including France, the United States, South Africa, and Italy. As a result there are a number of options to choose from at a variety of price points.
Carlson Cabernet Franc ($25)
This Californian wine is an excellent mix of tangy acidity and dark berry flavors.
Warwick Estate Cabernet Franc ($25)
This South African option is rich, fragrant, and packed with juicy acidity and tannins.
Château du Coudray Montpensier 2014 Le Grand Bouqueteau Réserve ($14)
This French wine is herbal and fruity, with a soft finish. An excellent easy-drinking wine.