Gone are the days when Cabernet Franc was overshadowed by her noble progeny, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. With its roots in Bordeaux, France, Cabernet Franc is known best for the part she plays in Bordeaux blends, however, making up less than 1% of plantings in South Africa, this relatively small player is playing a big game.
Cabernet Franc shows the unique combination of fruit, spice and herbaceousness on the nose. On the palate red fruit, bell pepper and crushed gravel entice the senses. Raats Family Wines use the beautiful analogy of an “iron fist with a velvet glove”, meaning there is power on the palate, followed by elegance and silkiness. For me, this description hits the nail on the head.
Cabernet Franc’s medium to high acidity makes for great pairing with tomato based dishes like the South African winter favourite, warm and hearty tamatiekos. Fuller bodied Cabernet Francs love game; think Springbok loin grilled to perfection or a delicious venison pie. For those of you who have given up meat but still enjoy a great red wine, try this flavour driven vegetable lasagne with an aged Cabernet Franc which typically shows interesting vegetal characteristics.
I would like to use this opportunity to congratulate the producers of the Top 6 Single Varietal Cabernet Francs as decided at the 2020 Cab Franc Challenge, in April by CVO Marketing.
Anthology Cabernet Franc 2017
David Finlayson Camino Africana Cabernet Franc 2017
High Constantia Cabernet Franc 2012
Rainbow’s End Limited Release Cabernet Franc 2018
Rietvallei JMB Cabernet Franc 2016
Whalehaven Cabernet Franc 2015
And here is a collection of some beautifully crafted local Cabernet Francs currently on our shelf.
Garbriëlskloof The Landscape Series Cabernet Franc 2016
Jacob’s Ridge Hemel-en-Aarde Ridge Cabernet Franc 2012
Lieben Cabernet Franc 2017
Raka Cabernet Franc 2016
I wish you all the best and may you never forget, the best ingredient for an unforgettable wine experience is the people you share it with.