CABERNET FRANC – Most likely the best red grape variety for the Niagara Peninsula.

Cabernet FrancCabernet Franc

Cabernet Sauvignon, a mutation of Cabernet Franc, plays a very important role in Bordeaux and in many other countries for a long time. Yet Cabernet Franc at least in Medoc ays second fiddle to Cabernet Sauvignon, but in St. Emilion and Pomerol Cabernet Franc is more widely planted than in Medoc, elsewhere in Bordeaux it enjoys limited popularity.

Yet in the Loire Valley, Cabernet Franc yields fine, fruity, racy, light, red wines that enliven fatty foods and cream cheeses superbly.

Cabernet Franc

is adapted to cool and damp climates, likes clay soils, ripens two weeks earlier than Cabernet Sauvignon, and can withstand severely cold temperatures.

It yields light coloured, fruity, spicy wines, with lighter tannins, but may show herbaceous flavours when unripe.

Outside of Bordeaux and Loire, Cabernet Franc is planted in Languedoc, northern Italy, California, South Africa, New Zealand, Australia, Chile, Argentina and Ontario.

In California a few wineries have been very successful introducing 100 percent Cabernet Franc wines of fine texture and flavour with sufficiently high acidity for long cellaring.

At its best, a 100 percent Cabernet Franc is medium bodied, fragrant, crimson coloured, with a spicy mid-palate attack, bursting with deep complex flavours. Some connoisseurs attribute a smell of ash to cabernet franc. Well-made Cabernet Franc always has a long and satisfying finish. It can be enjoyed young, or cellared for a long time. Young Cabernet franc may be enjoyed chilled and goes well with roast veal or lamb, stews, semi-soft cheeses, roast chicken, vegetarian dishes, pizza, meat sauced pasta, and cold cuts.

Cabernet franc

does particularly well on the vineyards of Lake Erie north shore.

Colio’s Cabernet Franc Reserve wines enjoy a very high level of recognition amongst wine drinkers.

On the Peninsula, St. David’s Bench yields fine Cabernet Franc. Chateau des Charmes, has been very successful in its Bordeaux-blends with Cabernet Franc.

Inniskillin, Reif, and Merrynissen use their estate grown Cabernet Franc to improve their Bordeaux blends. Niagara vineyards located close to Lake Ontario have been duly noted as well suited for Cabernet Franc. J. P Groux, the long-time winemaker of Hildebrand, now working for Startus winery, used this grape for his Trius blends to good effect. He is the inventor of the brand. Although  no longer workd at Hillebrand the brand is continued and expanded to include white and sparkling wines.

In general Cabernet franc seems to be the most suitable red grape for Ontario and growers may have intuitively recognized that since there is more Cabernet Franc acreage than for any other red grape.

California’s Sonoma County grows fine Cabernet Franc as does the coastal region all the way down to Santa Ynez valley.

Australian winemakers prefer to blend Cabernet Franc with Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Mourvedre, Merlot, Grenache and Carignane.

South Americans (Chile and Argentina) have some acreage, but too small to produce quantities sufficiently large to influence a blend appreciably.

Cabernet Franc

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