Cabernet Franc

I was/am a big Cab guy. As well as Amarone. Lately I’ve been getting into Cab Franc’s. Honestly haven’t had a bad bottle yet. Anyone have any knockout recommendations in the $40-60 range?

Derenoncourt’s Coombsville Cab Franc

The Loire is my go-to for Cab Franc (Chinon; Saumur-Champigny; Bourgueil). You can’t go wrong with Domaine Bernard Baudry. Olga Raffault and Charles Joguet are also widely available.


What region? Cab franc in California bears little resemblance to cab franc from the Loire.


I was wondering the same thing. Loire Cab Franc seems quite a different beast from Amarone, though obviously most of us like a variety of wine types.

I was going through some of my boxes of wine and was reminded of a box of Cab Franc and Cab that Tom was kind enough to sell me going back to 08 and also put me on the mailing list for the East Block Reserve. I should try the 08 soon. What a nice guy.

OP may well find the Loire CFs thin/reedy/green but they’re still the right answer. [wink.gif]

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Awesome, thanks gents! I’ll be sure to give them a try.


Is the California project he started still in production? I can’t seem to find it on interweb…

Agreed, these are great, but not sure I would recommend them to someone that likes big boy Cali Cabs. Or, try the 2018 vintage of Loire, it’s riper.

You are right. Someone early in their wine path might not like or appreciate the style of wine from the Loire. Pure fruit, crisp, with a little funk and a nuanced complexity.

One suggestion for someone new to Loire cab franc (I don’t know if that applies to Frank) is to focus on the riper vintages, which tend to track with Bordeaux as far as vintage characteristics. Vintages like 2005, 2009, 2010, 2015, 2016 are great in the Loire, where there is more fruit and yet, at least in my experiences, the wines never get hot, out of balance, overripe, or any of that.

Loire cab franc seems very consistently able to hold balance and varietal/regional character even in the riper years. And a little more ripeness in the fruit is usually a positive thing, for newbies but I think also for regulars.

I generally agree with that but do think 2018 went over the top on many. Feel that way with other regions in France in 2018 as well.

Interesting, I haven’t bought or tried any 2018s. Do you mind describing a bit more what they’re like? Is there heat, low acid, wines feel heavy, tobacco/gravel type characteristics obscured, etc.

So many good ones from St. Emilion.

Derenoncourt’s negociant-style California project, I think, ended in 2011 or so. Look for back vintages: these will last 20 years easily. Well worth it. His Cab Franc is a Saint Emilion specialist playing like a little boy with the ripest, freshest fruit he has ever seen in his life.

Thanks. I bought several 06’s back when they were released. Syrah and Cab Sav only though. My notes say I liked them both back in 08, but have not opened any since. I’ll have to look out for some cab franc. I do enjoy that varietal.

My favorite Cab Franc is probably from Trespass, but it’s closer to $100 than the OP’s desired price point. Spring Valley’s “Catharine” is a pretty good one, at about $60. Palazzo is pretty good also, at $60’ish. If you can get them, cause they are kind of the winery’s ‘secret’ bottling that doesn’t always make the “for sale” list - is from Dunning in Paso. Excellent CF for the price point. I grabbed a case from them a few years ago. I think they were $36 per bottle, with a case discount.


Clos Saint Julien (in Saint Emilion) is a cab franc heavy wine, 80-100% if I recall. It’s hard to find but pretty good in my limited experience. Carmes Haut Brion also tends to be cab franc heavy / dominant and ages very well. If you looked on a map many of the estates around Figeac, Cheval Blanc, Soutard etc. all tend to have higher levels of CF in their cepage

Personally I don’t care for the Loire expressions of this varietal; they just never taste like they got enough sun but they have their fans here.

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I am big Cab Franc fan as well. I don’t have any good go-tos in the $40-$60 range and Loire is covered so I thought I would throw out a couple more up and down from that range which are from the U.S. and Italy. I absolutely love Aaron Pott’s Blackbird Vineyards Paramour year in and year out. It is probably in the $100 to $120 range, but it is outstanding, and personally I think it is the best of the top line Blackbird bordeax blends (Contrarian/Cab Sauv dominated) and (Illustration/Merlot dominated). They also do a limited release Denary Cuvee that has been outstanding (the 2012 is singing). All of these wines are cab franc dominated with merlot and cabernet sauvignon as part of the blend.

Another awesome special occasion wine for fans of Italian wines would be the Le Macchiole Paleo Rosso ($80) which is 100% cab franc. It really needs about 8-10 years in bottle before its starts to shine, but it is one of the best expressions of Cab Franc I have tried.

As for down stream, I think that the Alexander Valley Vineyards Cab Franc is a great value at about $21-$22.

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