||Cabernet Franc, while
languishing in the shadow of the more revered Cabernet Sauvignon, is
capable of producing truly great wines in St.-Emilion and the middle
Loire. It is also widely planted in Italy. Cabernet Franc is a more
vigorous producer than Sauvignon, ripens earlier, and can be produced in a
larger variety of soils than Cabernet Sauvignon.
Typically Cabernet Franc wines are rather more
herbaceous than Cabernet Sauvignon, lower in tannins, acids and extract
and therefore more approachable, with a distinctive aroma that reminds
some of raspberries and violets. When blended with Merlot, the Merlot
fills in the holes of Cabernet Franc’s rather lean structure and the
blend magically makes a lush mouth-filler.
Cabernet Franc is
better suited to rather cooler climates. It buds considerably earlier than
Cabernet Sauvignon, which is largely why it is a much less even cropper,
but it also ripens rather earlier and will therefore ripen in areas where
Cabernet Sauvignon is thought to succeed only in exceptionally warm years.
The Cabernet Franc gives the wine the same sort of
flavour and structure as Cabernet Sauvignon, without as much of the
uncompromisingly hard elements of acid and tannin.
Breton (Loire), Carmenet (Medoc); Bouchet, Bros-Bouchet,
Brosse-Vidure (St. Emilion and Pomerol); Vernon, Bouchy, Noir-Dor,
Messange Rouge, Trouchet Noir (rest of France); Bordo, Cabernet Frank
Can withstand markedly wetter soils than Cabernet
Sauvignon, e.g. clay or even volcanic soils.
Robinson, Jancis, Vines Grapes and Wines, Alfred A. Knopf,
New york, 1986 132-134
Photos: Galet, Pierre, Cepages et Vignobles de France, Tome
II, L’ampelographie Francaise