I have heard of this grape, but you do not often see it on a wine label like one does with Cabernet Sauvignon. I did see one on my recent trip to Boulogne, so I thought, why not try one? So a review coming up first, followed by some research on the grape.
Review by me and Mary, tasted with chicken drumsticks cooked with a herb and mildly spiced coating, rice and green beans.
Anjou Cabernet Franc
- Domaine la Guillaumerie Anjou Cabernet Franc
- € 5.55 from Auchan
Aroma: Smooth and delicate, nice. Soft fruits aromas.
Taste: Smooth and pleasant. Maybe lacking some depth and elegance but gives a nice bite. a richer taste than aroma.Paul
Aroma: Herby and mellow, no sharpness
Taste: As with the aroma, nice smooth and mellow, no sharpness. It went well with the slightly spiced chicken meal.Mary
More about Cabernet Franc
Having first tasted the wine, I decided to to some research and find out more about this grape.
Some initial research, and I go to good old Wikipedia, always a good basic source of information has this:
“Cabernet Franc is one of the major black grape varieties worldwide. It is principally grown for blending with Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot in the Bordeaux style, but can also be vinified alone, as in the Loire’s Chinon. In addition to being used in blends and produced as a varietal in Canada and the United States, it is sometimes made into ice wine in those regions.
Cabernet Franc is lighter than Cabernet Sauvignon, making a bright pale red wine that contributes finesse and lends a peppery perfume to blends with more robust grapes. Depending on the growing region and style of wine, additional aromas can include tobacco, raspberry, bell pepper, cassis, and violets.”
Then I looked at some of the books that I have. Although I have reviewed these before, I have only really used them as reference. And that is the best way to use these books. You don’t really read them, you use them as reference. First a brief look at Robert Joseph’s ‘French Wines’ reviewed here.
“This grape is Cabernet Sauvignon’s more vibrantly blackcurranty kid brother….best known as a crucial component of most red Bordeaux blends….Chateaux Cheval Blanc and Vieux Chateau Certan…..it flies so in the Loire Valley in appellations such as Chinon, Bourgueil and Saumu-Champigny.”
And I also looked again at Victoria Moore’s ‘The Wine Dine Dictionary’ reviewed here.
In the food section, she suggests for BBQ sometimes going for a contrast to a bold red and to choose a “refreshing light red such as Beaujolais, marzemino, or a cabernet franc from the Loire, maybe serving it slightly chilled to counteract the brawn of the food.”
The lightness and freshness of Cabernet Franc is mentioned quite a lot in Victoria’s book. For broad beans, she says they “go with red wines that taste of spring, such as a young, unoaked cabernet franc from the Loire.” For duck served with peas and lettuce, she says “Cabernet franc will emphasise the soft meatiness of the duck, while the inherent leafy taste of the grape works with the peas and lettuce” She recommends it with a pink lamb (again served with peas and other spring vegetables).
In the wine section, she describes cabernet franc as “distinguished by its fragrance….even when it forms only a small part (as little as 10%) of a wine, you still catch its breezy uplifting perfume. It’s like brushing past a large flowering redcurrant bush.“
“Cabernet franc’s heartland is the Loire in France where, unblended, it makes wine under the appellations of Anjou (soft and smooth, and frequently too shallow), Saumur and Saumur-Champigny (more interesting) and the highly regarded Chinon and St Nicolas de Bourgueil (often more complex and weighty).” … “They are ‘girlish springtime versions’ of Cabernet Sauvignon without ‘stern tannin and might“
Interesting to read from Wikipedia and Victoria that it is normally a lighter wine than a Cabernet Sauvignon. This wine has an alcohol level of 12.5%. I have started to prefer the lighter red wines such as Pinot Noir, and I will keep an eye out for more ‘Cabernet Franc labelled’ wines.
It was an ‘Anjou’ and Victoria did comment that although this was ‘soft and smooth’ they are ‘frequently too shallow’. So I was pleased that even before reading any information on this grape, I also described it as ‘smooth and mellow but maybe lacking some depth and elegance’ and that it went well with lighter meat dishes rather than a steak or other strong beef dishes. I think I am getting better and tasting wines.
Interesting to see that both Victoria and Joseph mentioned Chinon, Bourgueil and Saumu-Champigny as good appellations of Cabernet Franc. I will keep an eye out for those in future. Still, this was a very pleasant soft wine, and a good buy at €5.55