Today (December 4) marks Cabernet Franc Day!
Ah, the parent of Cabernet Sauvignon. A very versatile grape that can span the spectrum of light bodied, pyrazinic wines like Chinon or Bourgueil, or be an over extracted beast of a wine like the fuller expressions from California, heavy in berry fruit flavors. The perfect blending grape for top-tier reds the world over. A varietal wine we can barely keep in stock ever.
That’s right. Any time we’ve gotten our hands on a Cab Franc, it’s been gone in days, many times, hours. Why is that?
Well, Cab Franc has a bit of a supply and demand issue.
Dollar for dollar, wineries make way more on their Cab Franc as a blender in “Cabernet Sauvignon” or “Meritage” wines (remember, even a Cab Sauv can be appalated and still be up to 15% Cab Franc, or other varieties of grape). Price is perception, so while a wine can be 90% Cab Franc and labeled as “Cabernet Franc” lets say – considering it’s outstanding juice – a tasting room could fetch upwards of $70/bottle of said Cab Franc. Now, label it as a Meritage (essentially owning the fact it’s 90% Cab Franc and 10% other Bordelaise varieties blended for finishing), and the EXACT SAME JUICE can now fetch $125 a bottle or more. Just because of a name printed on a label. Cab Franc just isn’t that in demand by name on a large scale like other varieties, so there just isn’t that much produced of it, especially when a few tweaks can fetch you more money for your product.
Happens all the time. Remember that the $18 bottle of Sonoma Cab we sell, the same bottle for $60 in the original tasting room, and a $120 Napa Cab from the other side of the hill all cost about the same to produce. All you’re paying for is where you got it and the label on the bottle (well and covering a ton of other associated business costs related to running a winery).
Cab Franc is no exception to this rule.
So what does this have to do with Cabernet Franc Day you might be asking?
Today is a day to celebrate one of the greatest wines known to man, hiding right underneath the price point that makes you think a wine is great.
Funny, really, the grape that is the parent to Cab Sauv and gives it all it’s sought after characteristics, is just perceived as lesser than, and in turn – if you’re a market savvy shopper and aware of this fact – can yield amazing, life changing wines, at a very, very reasonable price…if you can get your hands on one.
Happy Cabernet Franc Day! Now go (try to) get some, or use this as the perfect occasion to open some if you’ve been looking for an excuse to do so.