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About the California Cabernet Franc

Elvis Elvis

California Cabernet Franc wine production began in the 1970s. There are currently over 2,000 acres of Cab Franc planted in the Golden State. As in Bordeaux, it is primarily used as a blending grape with Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and occasionally Malbec and Petit Verdot.

California Cabernet Franc tends to have more forward fruit flavors and aromas than European examples. While the grape’s mineral flavors are a bit subdued by this fruit, they are still distinctive. In the Golden State, Cab Franc can be succeptible to Spring frosts because the grape buds early in the season.

Cosentino Winery

Cosentino Winery makes one of the best single varietal examples of the grape that I have tasted. Cosentino is located in the Oakville AVA just north of the town of Yountville. Their tasting room is very friendly and a delight to visit. The excellent Mustard’s and Brix restaurants are both right next door.

Joseph Phelps Vineyard

Joseph Phelps Vineyards is located in the eastern hills of the St Helena AVA. The winery’s flagship Insignia was one of the first California wines to use Cab Franc in a traditional Bordeaux blend. The 2002 Insignia was ranked the #1 wine of the year by Wine Spectator.

About the California Cabernet Franc

Opus One

Robert Mondavi and Baron Philippe Rothschild’s Opus One was established in 1979. This was another trailblazing Bordeaux blend from the Napa Valley. The cuvee contains a bit of Cab Franc for balance and is one of the most well-regarded wines made in California.