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Cabernet Franc (Red) (cab-er-NAY FRANK)
Regions: Cabernet franc is one of the wine varietals that are allowed to be grown in Bordeaux in the southwest of France (the others being Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec and Petit Verdot). It is part of the blend in many of the wines from this region and features prominently in some of the "Right Bank" villages such as St.-Emillion (particularly in the legendary wine Chateau Cheval-Blanc which is primarily Cab franc). It is also indigenous to the Loire Valley in France, where wines from Chinon, Bourgeuil and Samur-Champigny are primarily Cab franc. It is also planted in California and other places where Bordeaux varietals are grown. There it is usually part of a blend with Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot but there are a few bottlings of primarily Cab franc.
Characteristics: This grape has some similarities to its big brother, Cabernet Sauvignon. Generally considered not quite as noble but in the right places is capable of greatness. It can tend to have a bit of a vegetal or herbal aroma and flavor. While this can be a nice complexity, if under-ripe this can be dominant and off-putting. Generally full bodied but some examples from Chinon and Bourgeuil are made in an almost Beaujolais-like style that is fresh and fruity and simple. The best Bordeaux, Chinon and Bourgeuil can be quite long-lived.