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By Giuliano Bortolleto

Undoubtedly, Malbec is the emblematic grape of Argentina. Since the end of the nineteen century, when the first Malbec vines came to the south american country, until the 70 decade of the last century, Malbec vineyards has just grown so rapidly along the country in the same way that the internal demand deeply rised as well (by this time the national consumption reached the unbelieveble number of almost 95 liters per person by year). However, the wine production in Argentina was mostly based on table wines.

As I have already explained on the Red Wines Blog, the argentinean producers, together with the national organisms of vitiviniculture control (notedly the INV and the INTA) has drastically changed its way of producing wines, which incredibly improved the vitiviniculture in there (see th post A Summary of the Malbec History in Argentina). So, by the end of the 90s, the argentinean vitiviniculture started to strongly believe in the potential of the french grape from Cahors and many producers were begining to see the amazing results that they were getting with the combination of the Mendoza’s terroir (the dry climate, the irrigation water from the Andes thawing, the thermical wideness), with the Malbec.

Malbec has became the national grape in Argentina and these wines represent their country in the world wine with full-bodied an great personality, plus the latest years elegancy aquired.

It is important to say about the this red grape capacity of producing many styles of wines. There are some wineries doing sparkling wines, with both varietals or blends of Malbec; there are exemples of fortified wines made with this grape, there are Malbec varietals to be drunk young, other to be kept for a couple of years and there are always good results when it is tried to give the wine a touch of oak resting. But for now, let’s talk about the young Malbecs produced in Mendoza.

The most simple Malbec wines produced in Argentina usually are a little rustic and usually are a bit “savage” in the mouth. That’s because qe are talking about a wine with too much tannins. But, as usually even these young and simple wines get som oak time before got the market, with one or two years resting in the bottle, they got just some simple pasta with red sauce or some condimented red meat. This is one of the favorite styles for the argentinean people. They are very used to drink this kind of wine.

But, be carefull. when it comes to the oak presence in the wine you should pay attention to what you are buying. It is not true that all the young wines receive too much oak into their composition, although there are a lot of bad wines being produced just based on the oak stage, which tunrs the wine into a real oak mess! Normally, the chances of making a mistake buying a bad wine decrease radically when you choose a good and respectfull producer. Actually this is not a rule just for buying argentinean wines, but in every country in the world, even in France or Italy.

So, now, I am going to show a few good examples of simple Malbec wines from Mendoza an tell somethings about the producers so you can now them better. For now, I will just talk about wines with cost less than 15 dollars.

Finca Flichman - Malbec Roble 2007 Price: about US$ 7,90

This is a centenary winery, located in the east of Mendoza. Its wines are very well produced. Their simple wines express the good aromas of red fruits, such as raspberry and cherries. It has spent three months inside the oak barrel, which helps to smooth the wine little. Although it is a rustic wine, it conserves very nice fruit flavours, besides those ones that were brought by the oak contact. Despite it is a little dry in the end, it is one of the best choices in terms of price and quality’s relation.

Trapiche - Varietales Malbec 2007 Price: about US$ 8,30

The Trapiche winery is a very big one also, and has a very long history in the argentinean vitiviniculture. As many wineries in Argentina, used to produce only comun wines, with no quality to attend the national big demand. Now they have very nice facilities and high technology to produce very good wines. This varietal wine, is full-bodied and rustic. Lots of oak notes, like chocolate and some tobaco. Dry end. But very nice price and quality too.

Norton - Malbec Lujan de Cuyo DOC 2007

Price: about US$ 10,50

That’s one of the biggest in Argentina and, despite the others which exports a lot, there is a bottle of a Norton wine in almost every restaurant of the country. This a very nice exmple of an oaky Malbec wine. The presence of the oak can be feeled as soon as you put the wine into the glass. But there is a good fruit also and som pepper notes. It can get better if you wait for some two or three years to open the bottle.

Catena Wines - Alamos Malbec 2007

Price: about US$ 8,30

Now we are talking about one of the best wineries in Mendoza certainly. Mr Nicolás Catena, the company owner, made a great job by selecting the clons of the Malbec grape, in order to obtain the best that the fruit could give and the results were the best you can imagine. Lots of high notes on specialized magazines, like Wine Spectator, were given to the special wines made with Malbec. This one, as I said before, it is not one of this special wines. But it is made by the same winery that is wordly known by the excelence on producing the best Malbec wines from Argentina, so I think you can figure out that this varietal one is not just a comun and simple wine, although is made just for daily consumption. The Alamos Malbec it’s much more complex than the others. A lot of red fruits appear on the bouquet, raspberry, strawberry. Some mint and red pepper can also be noticed. It has a good sweetness, not nauseating, that combined with the tannic potency, creates a great body to the wine. Very easy to drink. And it can be better if you wait one hour with the bottle opened to get the wine a little softer.

Terrazas de los Andes - Linea Verietal Malbec 2007

Price: about US$ 8,30

That’s also a very special winery. It is owned by the french multinational company LVMH. The Moët & Chandon winery came to the country in the 50s and discovered the great climate and soil that Mendoza had. Now their producton is made in order to export the majority. There are really high technology and a really good enologists of staff. This wine is from their varietal line, but when you drink it you might think you are drinking like a “Reserva” wine. Very well structured, complex, very strong fruit aroma and you can barely feel the oak flavours. It is much more soft and mature than the others. It’s really ready to drink.

By Giuliano Bortolleto, january 26th of 2009

You have already noticed that I have talked about the Malbec from Argentina a couple of times this month. I am writing an academic work about this matter and I thought that woulb be interesting to share this knowledge with you. Here I am going to show some very nice Malbecs that I have already tasted.

The argentinean Malbec use to be a very good option in terms of price and quality. That’s because the Argentina have recieved a lot of european investments. Many wine producers from the old world had their attention called to new opportunities of cultivating the vines in other parts of the globe. Many researches were made in order to detect the best terroirs in very different contries. Undoubtedly, Argentina is one of the contries that have received a really great number of external investments in its viniculture, at the 70s, and mostly at the 80s and 90s.

The foreign wine producers helped a lot the argentinean vitiviniculre. They have brought aknowledge, new technics, enologists internationally known who came to work there, and more important, by the begining of the 90s, as the aregntinean economy was passing throught a very good moment, they have also brought high technology in temrs of vitiviniculture, which have put Argentina in a very high degree among the wine producers countries.

Today, Argentina has several foreign producers, disseminating their old culture of producing wines in this new territory, with a fantastic capacity of produce great wines. Mendoza, specially, the principal wine producer region of the country, has the perfect terroir to take care of the Malbec grapes in the best possible way. A great themical amplitude during the day, which garanties a great amount of sugar to the fruit and helps the sap changes, a very dry climate, what is simply amazing to the healthiness of the grape, besides the great high where the fruit is cultivated.

The most wonderfull thing is that the european producers firs wanted just to elaborate wines with some cliché blends, like the Bordeaux’s ones, with Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petit Verdot. Other tried to do some experiences with the spanish Tempranillo. In fact, the first internationally rewarded argentinean wines were made from this well-known grapes. However, after the Malbec clonal selection conduced by the INTA (National Institute of Agronomic Technology), many producers stared to believe in the quality of the grape from Cahors. In the latest years, the Malbec potential has sturdily increased, adn the highest level of excelence that this grape can reach is still unknown.

Malbec Grape
By Giuliano Bortolleto, january 22nd of 2009

The viticulture was brought to the argentinean soil, as weel as many other countries colonized by the Spain, by the oficials of the Catholic Church in order to use the wine on the Christian celebrations. The priest Juan Cidrón came from Santiago Del Estero, Chile, was the one who has planted the first grapevine by the year 1554. Since then, the viticulture in Argentina growed rapdly, due to the great number of european imigrants who arrived in the country, bringing whit them the culture of to produce and drink wines.

Achaval Ferrer Malbec 2005

However, only in the nineteen century that the Malbec grape “officialy” came to Argentina, when the french agronomist Miguel Aimé Pouget came from Chile to work in the Mendoza province, bringing whith him some seeds of Malbec grape. “Officialy” because it is now known that, by the number of malbec vines that were found along the country in the twenty century, ti is not possible to admit that the first Malbec vine was bought by Pouget. Certainly there was a lot of Mabec vines in other areas of the country.

During the middle of the last century the wine internal consumption reached the impressive number of more than 90 liters of wine wine in a year per person. The Malbec was already known by the majority of the wine consumers in Argentina, in spite of the low quality of wines that were produced by the 60 and 70 decades. Only in the 80s, with the extinction of one third of the vineyards in Argentina, conduced by the INV (National Institute of Vitiviniculture) in order to finish with the poor quality vineyards the quality started to be aimed by a great amount of producers.

Than, in the 90s, the INTA (National Institute of Agrarian Technology) started a clonal selection of the Malbec grapes so that the best species of that grape would be cultivated in the argentinean soil. And the results of these initiatives were tremendously good. Many high-quality wine producers started to believe in the great potencial of Malbec to produce fine wines.

Nowadays the Malbec is so respected in Argentina that it have became the National grape of the country, being the grapes most planted in all the national soil, and its wines take the name of the south american country all over the globe. It’s is very rare now to find some wine reviewer that do not recognize the great quality of the Malbec wines made in Argentina.

Although Malbec is not an autochthon grape, it is rare to find in the New World of wine, in which you can find a so strong identification between the grape and the national culture. The Malbec has paired so perfectly with the argentinean typical food (red meat and barbecue), and is so nationaly appreciated that is dificult even to imagine that this grape came from another country apart from Argentina.

Giuliano Bortolleto, 21th january of 2009

Cheval des Andes | Red Wines

The Cheval Blanc Chatêau is one of the oldest and most internationally recognized wines of Bordeaux. The wine is one of the two “Premier Grand Cru” Class A in the region of Saint Emilion. This famous Chatêau, as many other european producers decided to invest in the New World, in order to find a good terroir to produce a fine blend wine, with a superior quality, as they have France. So, Pierre Lurton, the Cheval Blanc enologist, went to Argentina and found a 76 years vineyard in Mendoza, very able to produce great wines, in terms of quality.

As soon as he found this terrain he thought abou what could be done. So, the Cheval Blanc Chatêau made a partnership with the winery Terrazas de los Andes, which belongs to the french group LVMH (Louis Viton Moet Hennessy), in order to produce a wine that would had the characteristics of the local region (the “terroir”), and a french blend from Bordeaux. The result of that is the Cheval des Andes wine, which appeared in the market in 2003.

The Cheval des Andes firsly had in its composition a litte more than 50% of Cabernet Sauvignon, about 40% of Malbec, an the rest of Petit Verdot. Now, the wine has a larger percentage of Malbec and Cabernet Sauvignon, and a litte amount of Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Petit Verdot. The wine stay for 18 months in french oak barrels of first use.

The wine has a very strong and bright red to purple color. Its bouquet is formidable. A mixture of black and red fruits (strawberry, cherry, mulberry, plum), some mint and also black chilli, and a very refined smell of chocolate and tobaco, due to the contact to the oak. It has a great body, a good consistence and a huge persistence in the mouth. The wine is very unctuous. We can say that this is about a superb wine. And its price is very inviting.

Finca Bella Vista | Red Wines

January 19th, 2009

By Giuliano Bortolleto, january 19th, 2009

The Finca Bella Vista Wine is a very especial product of the Achaval Ferrer. The production is so careful that the winery had to cancel the harvests of two consecutive years, 2005 and 2006. Despite the great loss, they not regret that “because it shows the huge care that Achaval Ferrer has with its wines” as the winery manager Julián said. However, they are now expecting to have the best harvest ever to the 2007 Finca Bella Vista, which can become the best wine ever produced by the Achaval Ferrer.

This is a “Terroir” wine, one exemple of the three single wineyards wines of the Achaval Ferrer Winery, made with Malbec grapes from the Bella Vista farm in Pedriel, in the Mendoza province in Argentina. This farm has only 5 hectars of planted area with only 12 hl/hect and is 980(3200 feets) meter above the sea level. The Mendoza dry climate garantees a thermic wideness, which provides healthiness and a good amount of sugar ti the fruit. Besides, due to the rainless of the region, the wine maker can use correctly the water in the irrigation in order to extract the most wonderful that the grape can give to the final product.

The color of this wine is absolutely fantastic. A real bright ruby color. The aroma is also superb. A combination of red fruits, like strawberry, and black chilli. The wine has a robust body. Nevertheles it mantains a good acidy level and a great elegancy and delicacy.

It really worths to wait for the new harvest of this surprizing Malbec from Achaval Ferrer.

Finca Flichman Reserva Malbec 2005 Tupungato, MendozaArgentina is making some interesting wines at the moment. Its main marketing push has been Malbec, a grape whose home is the southwest of France, where it’s the main grape in Cahors and a bit-part player in many Bordeaux blends. Malbec doesn’t have the blackcurranty fruitiness of Cabernet; rather it is a bit darker, and a little more savoury, with spice and earth undertones. It has less of a tendency to go to lushness when grown in warm climates, which is probably a good thing.

Mendoza is the dominant wine region. Perched on the side of the Andes, this is a region that receives very little rainfall, and were it not for the ready supply of Andes meltwater, viticulture wouldn’t be possible here. Another important factor is altitude: the vineyards here are high up, and with the highest vineyards in the region the extra UV light that the grapes receives causes the grapes to develop thicker skins, with more tannins (and softer tannins, too), as well as more colour. The cooling effect of altitude means that the grapes preserve acidity even when they are allowed to hang for quite a while before harvest.

But it would be wrong to dismiss Argentina’s other wine regions. Two in particular are worth mentioning. First, Salta. Up in the hot north, these are the world’s highest commercial vineyards: were it not for the effect of altitude, it would be too hot for quality viticulture here. Second, Patagonia. Travelling far south, this is a cooler, windier, flatter region that’s beginning to turn out some really nice wines.

This tasting covered 45 different Malbecs, which sounds like a lot, but is only a quick sampling of a much broader offering. Some important wines are missing – Catena, Achaval Ferrer and Colomé, to name but three – and so this can’t be seen as a true ranking of Argentina’s best.

In terms of quality, I though this was quite high across the board. Remember, this is a mixture of commercial wines and then some high-end ones. Stylistically, I think Argentina would do well to go down the road of freshness, definition and structure, rather than super-ripeness and new oak flavours. I would also add that while Argentinean Malbec is great, it would be a shame for this country to become a one-trick pony: other grape varieties shouldn’t be neglected in a headlong rush to plant Malbec.

1. Chacayes Malbec 2003 Tunuyán, Mendoza
Pure, sweet fruit on the nose, which is smooth with a spicy underlay. The palate is concentrated with good acidity and nice spicy structure. A lovely wine that is quite refined and full.

2. O Fournier Alpha Crux Malbec 2003 La Consulta, Mendoza
Dense, sweet, forward spicy nose shows lovely pure dark fruits. The palate is bold and full with good density and nice dark spicy fruit. Tannic, too.

3. Familia Schroeder Saurus Patagonia Select Malbec 2004 Neuqén, Patagonia
Amazingly deep, vivid colour. Lovely savoury, spicy nose of pure fruit. Vivid like a tank sample. The palate is intense, vivid and spicy with a savoury twist. A tannic beast.

4. Dominio del Plata Susana Balbo Malbec 2005 Tunuyan, Mendoza
Deep coloured. Beautifully aromatic nose showing spice, violet, sweet fruit. The palate is bold and rich but quite elegant with good acid. A striking wine that’s beautifully made.

5. Fincas Patagonicas Zolo Reserve Malbec 2004 Mendoza
Perfumed, fresh and bold with nice fruit freshness and good acidity. A lovely structured wine.

6. Finca Sophenia Synthesis Malbec 2005 Tupungato, Mendoza
Very open, sweet, perfumed nose is smooth and lush. The palate is open and rounded with sweet pure fruit. An elegant style.

7. Familia Cassone Obra Prima Malbec 2003 Mendoza
Lovely vivid savoury nose with pure fruit. Quite aromatic. Nice structure and weight on the palate which is vivid and dense with amazing fruit quality.

8. Fabre Montmayou Malbec Gran Reserva 2005 Luján de Cuyo, Mendoza
Deep coloured. Smooth, pure, spicy nose leads to a dense palate with nice intensity and delicious spicy structure. A lovely wine.

9. Luigi Bosca Malbec 2004 Luján de Cuyo, Mendoza
From 54 year old vines, this spends 14 months in French oak. Concentrated, firm and tannic with nice ripe fruit allied with the structure. There’s a bold, savoury edge to the sweet dark fruits.

10. Bodega del Fin del Mundo Malbec Reserva 2004 Neuquén, Patagonia
Interesting stuff. Savoury, spicy nose leads to a palate with dense spicy fruit and oak. Lots of presence here: a nice wine.

11. Filipe Rutini Malbec 2005 La Consulta, Mendoza
Lovely fruit here: juicy, vivid, bold fruit with nice weight and spice. Delicious.

12. Pulenta Estate Malbec 2004 Alto Agrelo, Mendoza
Dense, spicy and extracted with nice freshness and some class. Bold stuff. Delicious with lots of presence.

13. Finca el Retiro Malbec 2004 Mendoza
Vivid purple colour. Aromatic spicy nose leads to a high-acid palate with good structure. Vivid and full. Long lived?

14. Eral Bravo Malbec 2005 Agrelo, Mendoza
Rich, extracted style with concentrated, dense, ripe spicy fruit. Some oak is evident, but its nicely done in an unashamed new world style.

15. Trivento Golden Reserva Malbec 2004 Vistalba, Mendoza
Big, dense, ripe and extracted with lots of spicy, oaky fruit. In yer face.

16. Familia Zuccardi Q Malbec 2003 Maipú, Mendoza
Quite structured and spicy with some oak influence. Quite refined in a full flavoured style.

17. Finca Las Moras Mora Negra 2004 Tulum Valley, San Juan
Deep coloured with vivid fruit. Ripe but with a savoury, spicy edge. Bold but balanced.

18. Trapiche Tributo Felipe Villafañe Malbec 2003 La Consulta, Malbec
Smooth, sweet pure fruit but lots of vanilla oak on the nose. Vivid, bold, oaky palate.

19. Valentin Bianchi Particular 2004 Mendoza
Ripe, rich, spicy and chunky, with good weight. A nice rich style.

20. Luna Llena Malbec 2004 Mendoza
Very sweet, soft fruit here. Open and rounded. A striking, distinctive wine.

21. Bodega NQN Malma Reserve Malbec 2004 Neuquén, Patagonia
A very rich, full wine with sweet fruit and nice supporting oak. Substantial stuff.

22. Terrazas Reserva Malbec 2004 Vistalba, Mendoza
Sweet, liqueur-like fruit on the nose. Some oak influence on the palate. Modern styled.

23. Viña Fundación de Mendoza Malbec 2006 Santa Rosa, Mendoza
Quite vivid and spicy on the nose. The palate has savoury, spicy structure and good fruit. Good concentration.

24. Michel Torino Don David Reserve Malbec 2004 Cafayete, Salta
Juicy, bold and rich with good acid and structure, and pure dark fruits. Lovely.

25. San Polo Auka Malbec 2003 La Consulta, Malbec
Nice full and dense with spiciness and freshness. Tasty.

26. Norton Malbec Reserva 2004 Lunlunta, Mendoza
Juicy, ripe easy drinker with red fruits and a touch of spice.

27. Navarro Correas Colección Privada Malbec 2005 Mendoza
Vivid and intense, with lots of fruit. Good acid. Tasty.

28. RJ Viñedos Jaffe e Hijas Grand Malbec 2004 Valle d’Uco, Mendoza
Fresh, quite perfumed nose is spicy and full. The palate is dense and full with nice spicy structure. Vivid stuff.

29. Bodega Felix Lavaque, Finca El Recreo Quara Barrique Aged Malbec 2004 Cafayate, Salta
Vivid and juicy with nice freshness from the high acidity. Tasty

30. Viento Sur Malbec 2005 Tupungato, Mendoza
Quite aromatic and full with sweet red fruits. The palate is bold and juicy with nice fresh herby fruit. There’s a herbal edge.

31. Finca Flichman Reserva Malbec 2005 Tupungato, Mendoza
Sweet, spicy, slightly tarry edge. Nice dark fruits.

32. Alta Vista Premium Malbec 2004 Luján de Cuyo, Mendoza
Nice weight and density here. Rich, modern and spicy. Slightly oaky style.

33. Telteca Antá Malbec 2004, Lavalle, Mendoza
Juicy and rich with ripe fruit. Very drinkable.

34. Mendoza Vineyards Malbec 2005 Mendoza
96% Malbec, 4% Viognier, some staves used. Juicy, fruity, fun and quite nice.

35. Graffigna Centenario Malbec 2004 Pedernal, San Juan
Bold, rich and quite oaky with lots of presence.

36. Argento Malbec 2005 Mendoza
Nice bright juicy fruit with no rough edges. An easy drinker.

37. Chakana Malbec Reserva 2005 Agrelo, Mendoza
Vivid, toasty, chocolatey nose. Lots of ripe fruit. Quite oaky, but good fruit.

38. Trapiche Broquel Malbec 2004 Mendoza
Chocolatey, spicy, oaky nose. Dense, spicy, oaky palate. Good in its style.

39. Etchart Gran Reserva Malbec/Cabernet Sauvignon 2003 Cafayate, Saltra
50% Malbec, with 30% Cabernet and the balance Merlot and Tannat. Sweet, ripe and approachable. Nice.

40. Tamari Malbec Reserva 2005 Mendoza
Vivid and juicy with high acidity and ripe fruit.

41. San Huberto Malbec Crianza 2004 La Rioja
Spicy and quite structured with good acidity. A fresh, drinkable style.

42. Don Christobal Oak Reserva Malbec 2004 Mendoza
Quite a big oaky style with sweet fruit.

43. La Riojano Coop Raza Limited Edition Malbec 2003 La Rioja
Very fresh and juicy with nice acidity and some plummy bitterness.

44. Doña Paula Estate Malbec 2005 Luján de Coyo, Mendoza
Fresh and vivid with high acidity. Juicy and full.

45. Jean Bousquet Malbec 2005 Tupungato, Mendoza
Open, sweet spicy fruit. Quite distinctive with an slightly oxidative note. Approachable.

46. Santa Ana Malbec Reserve 2004 Cruz de Piedra, Mendoza
Juicy, fresh and fruity with a bit of spice.


Cabernet Franc | Red Wines

February 19th, 2008

Cabernet Franc | Red WinesCabernet Franc is one of the major varieties of red wine grape in Bordeaux. It is mostly grown for blending with Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot in the Bordeaux style, but is also vinified alone, particularly in Chinon in the Loire. It is even made into ice wine in Canada.

Cabernet Franc is lighter than Cabernet Sauvignon (of which it is a parent), contributing finesse and a peppery perfume to blends with more robust grapes. Depending on growing region and the style of wine, additional aromas can include tobacco, raspberry, and cassis, sometimes even violets. The Cabernet franc wine’s color is bright pale red.


Cab franc leaf.There are records of Cabernet Franc in Bordeaux going back to the end of the 18th century and it was planted in Loire long before that. The fact that it is known as Breton in the Loire suggests that it originally came from Brittany, which would be consistent with its preference for cooler temperatures.

Recent DNA research has shown that Cabernet Sauvignon is the result of a cross between Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc.

Regional production

Cabernet Franc vineyard planted near Paarl, South Africa.Other than in the Loire, Cabernet Franc is usually planted by growers wanting to emulate the Bordeaux blend, known elsewhere as the Meritage blend. Aside from the countries mentioned below, it is planted in Argentina, the Balkans, Chile, New Zealand, Romania and South Africa.


As with so many grapes, Cabernet Franc came to Australia in James Busby’s collection of 1832. It predominantly grows in cool, cool to warm and warm climates such as North-Eastern Victoria, McLaren Vale, and the Clare Valley.


Cabernet Franc is a key blending grape with Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. It adds tannins for added mouthfeel and increases the complexity of the wine. The wine pictured is a Canadian blend of Cab Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot.Cabernet Franc is becoming more popular in Canada, being planted in Ontario’s Niagara Peninsula, Prince Edward County, the north shore of Lake Erie, Pelee Island, and the Okanagan Valley in British Columbia.

The ice wines made from Cabernet Franc in the Niagara Peninsula are a curiosity.


There are over 14,000 hectares of Cabernet Franc in France. It is valued in Bordeaux for adding finesse to blends containing Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, but is seldom more than 10-20% of the blend. One notable exception is Château Cheval Blanc, where it makes up about two-thirds of the blend. In Saint-Émilion it is known as Bouchet.

Cabernet Franc is also the main component of the red wines of the Loire, particularly in Chinon, Bourgueil and Saumur. Although these are thought of as light wines for drinking with food in the summer, in good vintages they can last 10 years or more, particularly when the blend is stiffened with a little Malbec.

It is now recommended for planting throughout France, and can be found blended with Carignan in the Midi and with Tannat in Basses Pyrénées. It can also be found in the blends of rosé wine.


In all the Hungarian wine regions producing reds, especially in Villány and Szekszárd, the grape is used in Bordeaux-style blends and is also bottled as a varietal wine.


With 5,700ha, there’s more Cabernet Franc in Italy than commonly thought. It is mostly planted in the far northeast of Italy, particularly in Friuli, but it is also found in the wines of the Veneto, as part of some Chianti blends, even as far south as Puglia. It is known as Bordo in the Veneto.


This variety of grape is not very common in Spain and is to be found mainly in Catalonia, where it is an authorised variety in four Denominaciones de Origen: Catalunya DO, Conca de Barberá DO, Penedés DO and Terra Alta DO.


Interest in the grape started with Californian wine makers, who wanted to replicate the Bordeaux blend (now marketed as Meritage). Plantings since 1980 account for most of the 800ha now grown in California, over half of which is in Napa and Sonoma.
Cabernet Franc Harvest Party | Red Wines
More recently it has caught the attention of growers in cooler areas such as Long Island and the Finger Lakes of New York, Michigan’s west coast and in Washington state and in the Monticello wine region in the Piedmont of Virginia. Michigan State University conducts research on Cabernet Franc at their agricultural research center in Benton Harbor, Michigan.

Vine and Viticulture

Studies have shown that Cabernet Franc crossed with Sauvignon blanc to create Cabernet Sauvignon which shares a similar appearance to Cabernet Franc.In general Cabernet Franc is very similar to Cabernet Sauvignon, but buds and ripens a little earlier and prefers a slightly cooler climate. The vine is vigorous and upright, with dark-green, 5-lobed leaves. The winged bunches are elongate and small-medium in size. The small berries are quite small and blue-black in colour, with fairly thin skins.


Aceria, Acheria, Arrouya, Bordo, Bouchet, Bouchy (Gascony), Breton, Burdeas Tinto, Cabernet, Cabernet Aunis, Cabernet Franco, Capbreton Rouge, Carmenet (Médoc), Fer Servandou, Gamput, Grosse Vidure, Hartling, Kaberne Fran, Messanges Rouge, Morenoa, Noir Dur, Petit Fer, Petit Viodure, Petite Vidure, Petite Vignedure, Plant Breton, Plant Des Sables, Trouchet Noir, Véron, Véron Bouchy, Véronais, and Cabernet Gris.

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