Cabernet Franc rising in the Northwest

By on December 17, 2017
Cabernet Franc is grown in Red Willow Vineyard in Washington state's Yakima Valley.

One of the first stand-alone Cabernet Francs made in Washington came from Red Willow Vineyard in the western Yakima Valley. (Photo by Andy Perdue/Great Northwest Wine)

Of the six classic red Bordeaux grape varieties, interest in Cabernet Franc seems to be rising in the Pacific Northwest. More is being planted, being used in blends, and more being bottled as a stand-alone wine.

In 2016, Washington state winemakers brought in 4,300 tons of Cabernet Franc, that’s up a bit from the previous harvest and up nearly 1,000 tons from a decade ago.

Cabernet Franc is considered a blender in its native Bordeaux, and that’s how winemakers often view it in Washington. The grape tends to add a spiciness and herbal notes to Cabernet Sauvignon, while also smoothing out Cab’s famous tannins. Winemakers see it as a spice to use to add complexity in the cellar.

While there is no movement to plant a lot of new Cabernet Franc (as there is with Malbec), whenever a new planting of Cab goes in somewhere, count on a few rows of Cabernet Franc being part of the mix.

Here are a handful of Cabernet Francs we’ve tasted recently that we recommend trying. Ask for them at your favorite wine merchant or contact the winery directly.

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About Great Northwest Wine

Articles credited to Great Northwest Wine are authored by Eric Degerman and other contributors. In most cases, these are wine reviews that are judged blind by the Great Northwest Wine tasting panel.

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