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The Astor Wines & Spirits Glossary

Cabernet Franc

Relegated to moderate obscurity in modern times, Cabernet Franc is in fact the proud parent of the attention-hogging Cabernet Sauvignon (after an illicit affair with Sauvignon Blanc a hundred-odd years ago). Cabernet Franc has remained close to its roots in France, enjoying small pockets of popularity primarily in the Loire Valley (specifically in Chinon), where it is often bottled as a varietal wine, and in Bordeaux where it is still used in moderate percentages in the typical blends. In fact, one of the most famous (and most expensive) wines in the world, the legendary Château Cheval Blanc (yes, the wine referenced in the second to last scene in Sideways), is comprised primarily of Cabernet Franc. The grape is growing in popularity now elsewhere in the world, with limited plantings scattered across the globe. New York State has embraced this somewhat idiosyncratic grape as of late, with a great deal of success. Generally speaking, the grape tends to yield medium-bodied wines with solid structure. The tannins and acidity are typically softer than one finds in its offspring (Cabernet Sauvignon), though the two bear many similar traits. Oft-cited fruit notes range from raspberry to currant, and the wines are almost always marked by a distinct herbaceousness that can run the gamut from extremely green and vegetal to riper, warmer notes of sage and mint.
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