For over a century Cabernet Franc was keeping silently his splendor and the relatively younger Cabernet Sauvignon stole the light in order to become the most popular variety of red grape. In the present days, the “other” Cabernet looks like the “coolest” member of the family, more preferable, more popular among the wine adventurers who are looking for relieve from the powerful red fatigue.

In February 2015, Wine Spectator, leading American magazine, published an article titled “Cabernet Franc’s Time”:

The Cabernet in the shadows may be the next great varietal among American oenophiles.” According to the magazine, Cabernet Franc obsessed the wine bars, his market value increases; the enthusiasm of the winemakers also increases. “The excitement is palpable and the smell of pepper-bramble-tobacco-olive is in the air”, is what was written in Wine Spectator the editor Ben O’Donnell, quoting the classical aromatic marks for this variety.

For a long period of time, this variety was the anonymous component in the blends of dark wines from Bordeaux, along with Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot (and in many other foreign wines that follow the Bordeaux style). It is considered that Cabernet Franc exists many years before Cabernet Sauvignon (the middle of 1700 year). The pure variety wines are bottled mostly in valley of Loire but the most expensive representative is from Saint-Emilion – Château Cheval Blanc. Their leading wines contain mostly Franc, with a great deal of Merlot involved. Many critics define the Cheval Blanc from1947 as the best wine ever.

In 1997, a research, made in the University of California, based on DNA analysts, reveals some shocking news for this variety: Cabernet Sauvignon is a child of Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc, result from s spontaneous cross somewhere in the Bordeaux region. Those news are turned out to be surprising for two reasons: the dark colored skin of the variety could have a white predecessor. And also, contrary on the expectations, two grape varieties with slightly light profile, could actually give a variety with full-body of the wine, high alcohol and high content of tannins.

Not as dense as the Merlot as and with less tannins than the Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc has strong colored and thin skins, with remarkable flower aromas, prune, blackcurrant, blackberry, green peppers, spices and fresh herbs, especially when it is well maturated. If the grape is not enough maturated, it could have more green scents.

People that praise Cabernet Franc, are capable of estimate his lighter body and his acidity, easily combined with food. His qualities encourage bolder sommeliers to recommend it as the red wine for fish. And still it could be well combined also with chicken, pork, roasted meat, lamb, beef or of course with cheeses.

It is a fact, that Cabernet Franc maturates couple of weeks earlier then Cabernet Sauvignon and here is why it grows in zones with short growing seasons, such as Canada. But it takes effort in the vineyardand enought sunny weather to assure the full physiological ripeness. Toscana is also one of the regions that are appropriate for the full ripeness of the variety and for the making of well colored red wines.

When we use a decanter for this variety of grape, this will help decrease the natural spiciness of the wine. The wines will have lighter taste and they will be richer in flavors after 30 minutes in a decanter. Althought many critics recommend wine to be consumed not later then 5 years of aging, there are representatives from the valley of Loire river, that can age more than 10-15 years. Older wines have higher acidity and crispy tanins.

Cabernet Franc in Bulgaria?

In Bulgaria there are great pure varietal wine from Cabernet Franc. Aged in oak barrels or without contact with any barrel, the complexity of the wines from this grape is growing, which can really be enjoyable for the winemaker. And if you still haven’t taste this variety of grape, you put the begging of your personal research with a good and renakable representative of the grapes caracteristics : Four Seasons wine “Winter” Villa Yustina.