It's Cabernet Franc Day! Originating in France, Cabernet Franc is now widely planted in most wine-producing countries worldwide. It’s commonly found in the Bordeaux blend, notably in the Right Bank. Despite not enjoying the international fame of its offspring, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc is familiar yet unfamiliar to many. On Cabernet Franc Day, December 4th, let’s get to know it a bit more and find your reasons to love this grape.

December 4th is the International Cabernet Franc Day (Photo: Dan Cristian Pădureț,

Reason #1: Versatile

Similar to its child Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc is also found in different places around the world. It adapts to different terroirs while maintaining its key features, making it a versatile charm. As a grape, Cabernet Franc is lighter and softer than Cabernet Sauvignon, with signature green, vegetal, bell pepper notes. However, as it’s highly adaptable, Cabernet Franc comes in various styles.

In cooler regions, Cabernet Franc is medium-bodied and elegant, with red fruits and fresh dark fruits, often exhibiting graphite and licorice notes. In warmer climates, it’s opulent and robust, showing more cigar and leather aromas.

 Whether you are a fan of smooth, elegant wines like Pinot Noir or you are fond of rich, bold wines like Cabernet Sauvignon, you can always find something to pleasant with Cabernet Franc. For the sweet tooth, Cabernet Franc is also used to produce ice wine in Canada, featuring juicy strawberry flavors.

Reason #2: Food-Friendly

With its versatility, Cabernet Franc goes well with a wide range of dishes. Medium-bodied Cabernet Franc pairs well with roasted chicken or turkey, even tuna or salmon with rich sauce. A richer Cabernet Franc is a nice pairing for red meats and hearty dishes. Its distinct vegetal, herbaceous notes complement well-seasoned Mediterranean cuisine. The earthy, graphite, cigar notes make it perfect for game like rabbit or venison. And for the icewine, look no further, the ideal match would be the classic red velvet cupcake! You can have different Cabernet Franc wines throughout your whole meal.

Cabernet Franc pairs well with a variety of dishes (Photo: Farhad Ibrahimzade,

Reason #3: Great Aging Potential

Cabernet Franc, like Cabernet Sauvignon, has good aging potential. A well-made Cabernet Franc can age easily for 10 years. The best examples can evolve beautifully in the cellar for decades. Many may have hesitation about Cabernet Franc because of the vegetal, green notes, mocking it as an unripe Cabernet Sauvignon. With aging, Cabernet Franc wines usually develop an intriguing and complex flavor profile. More earthy, herbal, leathery, and spicy notes will emerge, while the green notes gracefully fade away. It's a wine for both immediate enjoyment and for cellaring.

3 Wine Regions That Produce Great Cabernet Franc

Loire Valley, France

Although many are familiar with Cabernet Franc as part of the Bordeaux blend, it is in the cooler, more continental Loire Valley where this grape truly shines in France. Being the dominant red grape in the Loire Valley, Cabernet Franc ranges from lighter, everyday drinking wines to the most exquisite and sought-after reds in the region. Chinon and Saumur-Champigny stand out as the most renowned regions for Cabernet Franc wines. Additionally, Anjou, Bourgueil, and Saint-Nicolas de Bourgueil also provide delightful selections of Cabernet Franc, delivering excellent value for your money.

At Bernard Baudry winery in Chinon, the showcase of different soil types illustrates Cabernet Franc's remarkable ability to adapt and express different terroirs. (Photo: Sylvia Ba)

Tuscany, Italy

Although Cabernet Franc is not commonly associated with Italy, the country has the second-largest planting area of the grape. The majority of Italian Cabernet Franc is found in the northeast region of Friuli-Venezia-Giulia, the best examples of Cabernet Franc are the super Tuscans. Benefiting from abundant sunshine in Tuscany, Cabernet Franc attains exceptional ripeness in Tuscany. Instead of green notes, Tuscan Cabernet Franc exhibits dark fruits, mocha, baking spice, leather, and subtle hints of balsamic notes. The Super Tuscan iteration of Cabernet Franc is often aged in French barrique, contributing to a bold flavor profile and remarkable age-worthiness.

Finger Lakes, United States

In the United States, Cabernet Franc is widely cultivated in California, but only a few of them are used to make varietal wine. The more recent rising star region on the east coast is where you can find a good single varietal Cabernet Franc wine. The cool climate of the Finger Lakes allows Cabernet Franc to have a long growing season, resulting in a delicate yet complex flavor profile. The medium-bodied, aromatic red is sure to please all palates.

So dear VinoVossers, after a learning journey of this amazing grape, it’s time to explore the Cabernet Franc wines galore and celebrate Cabernet Franc day with a pour and a sip.


Sylvia Ba

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