Cabernet Franc, along with the white Sauvignon Blanc is a parent of Cabernet Sauvignon. It has great fragrance and structure and shines both in the Loire Valley and in Bordeaux blends. The grape is believed to have originated in the Loire but today the Cabernet Franc grown in the Loire is not believed to be the same variety as that found in Bordeaux.
Cabernet Franc has smaller berries, is less densely packed, ripens earlier and requires less heat than Cabernet Sauvignon, although it is very similar in shape. It is fresher and more fragrant with aromas of redcurrant, menthol and blackcurrant with intense vegetal hints and an herbal finish. Cabernet Franc thrives especially on Bordeaux’s Right Bank, in the cooler clay soils of Saint-Emilion and Pomerol. Throughout the world, winemakers emulating the Bordeaux blend of grapes, will always plant Cabernet Franc alongside Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot.
The red wines of the Loire, made from 100% Cabernet Franc throughout Touraine, have achieved high praise of late. Climate change and improved viticultural methods have given quality a real boost here. Particularly wines from Saumur-Champigny, Bourgueil and Chinon are of smooth density and have enticingly fresh red fruit and herbal notes, carried by juicy redcurrant and cherry fruit. In maturity these wines develop aromas of cigar box, truffle and tobacco.
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