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Cabernet Franc is a good red wine to pair with a wide variety of delicious foods. But, even though it has this whole day dedicated to it, it’s one of the lesser-known Cabernets and many people still have questions! What does it pair well with? What are its origins? 

To learn these and other interesting answers, get ready to head over to France to discover more about what Cab Franc Day is all about!

History of Cab Franc Day

Cabernet Franc is believed to have been established in the Libournais region of southwest France sometime in the 17th century when Cardinal Richelieu transported vine cuttings to the Loire Valley.

These previous vine cuttings were planted at the Abbey of Bourgueil under the care of an abbot named Breton, whose name became associated with the grape. By the 18th century, plantings of Cabernet Franc (known as Bouchet) were found throughout Fronsac, Pomerol, and St. Emilion, with the intention of turning them into quality wines.

As Cabernet Sauvignon grew more popular in the 18th and 19th centuries, the close similarity of the two grapes was observed and theories emerged as to the extent of their relationship. In 1997, DNA evidence emerged to show that, at some point, Cabernet Franc had crossed with Sauvignon blanc to produce Cabernet Sauvignon. Experts believe that this happened by chance and were simply accidental cross-contamination, rather than a planned event. 

Records of Cabernet Franc in Bordeaux go back to the end of the 18th century, although it was believed to be planted in the Loire long before that time. DNA analysis also indicates that Cabernet Franc is one of two parents of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Carmenere, in addition to being a parent of Malbec. 

Cabernet Franc is one of the major black grape varieties worldwide. It is principally grown for blending with Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot in the Bordeaux style, but can also be vinified alone as in the Loire’s Chinon.

Cabernet Franc is lighter than Cabernet Sauvignon, making a bright, pale red wine that contributes finesse and lends a peppery perfume to blends with more robust grapes.

This wine has a unique taste that is a bit spicy and contains a medium to high level of tannins and acidity (although it tends to be lower in tannins and acids than Cabernet Sauvignon). Depending on the growing region and style of wine, additional aromas can include tobacco, raspberry, bell pepper, cassis, and violets. It might also come with some tart notes that sit alongside hints of berries and plums.

Although they originated in France, Cab Franc grapes are now grown in most wine-producing countries all over the globe, and are mostly used with other grapes to make blended wines.

In recent years, Cabernet Franc is experiencing a lovely renewal of interest in North America, including places such as Washington, California, New York, and even up north in Canada. 

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How to Celebrate Cab Franc Day

The obvious way to celebrate this day is to raise a glass of Cab Franc wine as a toast to its uniqueness! Try out these ideas for celebrating, whether on your own or with a group of friends:

Drink Cabernet Franc Wine

To celebrate Cab Franc Day, the first course of action should, of course, be to have a glass of Cabernet Franc while enjoying a wonderful home-cooked meal. Pairing a fine wine like Cabernet Franc with a home-cooked meal is not only a good way to spend an evening, but it is also a good way to make an evening date all more romantic. Try it with a plate full of grilled steaks or chops, a lovely piece of salmon, or for a vegetarian option, go for portobello mushrooms, peppers and olives. 

For a larger gathering, use Cabernet Franc when throwing a house party so everyone can raise their glasses to their successes and their loved ones. When the party has settled down, it’s a great wine to have while chatting with friends and family.

Learn More About Cab Franc Grapes and Wine

Impress friends and family members by learning a little bit more about this wine in celebration of Cab Franc Day. This little grape packs a power punch as one of the twenty most widely planted grapes in vineyards throughout the world!

Try out these facts and bits of trivia that will keep folks entertained while working to uncork that bottle of Cab Franc:

  • Cabernet Franc wine can be aged for up to 15 years if it is a high quality version of the wine.
  • Known as the “third grape of Bordeaux”, the Cab Franc grape can be found in many of the finest top Bordeaux wine blends in the world.
  • The most common Cabernet Franc wines can be found in three well-known villages: Chinon, Bourgeuil and Samur-Champgny.
  • Cabernet Franc might seem as if it is not very popular because many people haven’t necessarily heard its name. But that’s because it goes by quite a variety of different names and aliases, including Aceria, Breton, Burdeas Tinto, Capbreton Rouge, Grosse Vidure, Kaberne Fran, Messanges Rouge, Noir Dur, Petit Fer, Plant Des Sables, Trouchet Noir, and many more!

Take a Trip to France

Go to the place where it all began by scheduling a trip to visit Libournais. Loire Valley, the beautiful wine region, can be found in the central region of France, along the Loire River. It’s easily accessible from Paris and would even be a fun day trip from the country’s capital.

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