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December 4th is National Cabernet Franc Day. In recognition of this premium grape variety and its importance to the world of wine, we’re excited to share some of the attributes that make Cabernet Franc worthy of being in your glass...and of having its own day of recognition!

Cabernet Franc is one of the world’s top 20 most-planted premium grape varieties. It’s no surprise that this black-skinned grape can stand alone or be used to add complexity to blends, adding dark spices, earth, floral, and red and black fruit aromas and characteristics.

This versatile grape originated in Spain’s Basque region and was brought northeast to Bordeaux where it holds its largest plantings. In the late 1990’s, through DNA research it was discovered to be the parent of Cabernet Sauvignon where it crossed with the aromatic white varietal Sauvignon Blanc. It’s also a parent to Merlot, the most widely planted red grape variety in the Bordeaux region and an important grape to us here in Washington State.

Cabernet Franc finds its home in many Old World (Europe) and New World (everywhere but Europe) locations. This international and noble grape variety, planted outside of its original homeland, holds true to its varietal characteristics of early budding and ripening with medium body, tannins and acidity. Ideally, Cabernet Franc prefers the cooler soils of clay and limestone and its innate ability to resist winter freeze makes it a grape that winegrowers and winemakers appreciate.

Grown and produced in the cooler climates of “Right-Bank” Bordeaux and the Loire Valley of France, it produces wines of red plum, raspberry, violets, roasted pepper, wet stone, forest floor and herbaceous characteristics.

Grown in the warmer climate of Washington State, it produces well-balanced, fruit-forward wines with hints of blackberry, black cherry, black and red plum, raspberries, floral notes, pepper, and earth.

Cabernet Franc always produces wines of character and pairs beautifully with Fall comfort foods. Try our 2018 Cabernet Franc sourced from Horse Heaven Hills - with its notes of black cherry, plum, and spice - to pair with herb-roasted pork loin, a hearty beef stew, roasted vegetables with sage, rosemary and thyme, mushroom ravioli, or bacon wrapped meatloaf.

Enjoy and Cheers!
- Shelly Fitzgerald, Wine Education Specialist, CS, CSW, AWE, WSET Level 3