Cabernet Franc N

@ Gilles Cattiau / INRA

Member and perhaps founder of the ampelographic family of Carmenets, Cabernet Franc originates from the Basque part of the Pyrenees and has been assimilated by some observers to the ancient grape variety called “Biturica”. Its medium-sized clusters are made up of small dark grapes, which result in a wine that is both fine and somewhat structured with characteristic raspberry flavors.

If it is less tannic and colored than Cabernet Sauvignon, it has nevertheless a shorter maturation period and has adapted quite well to cooler terroirs. In Madiran, it is also called Bouchy (Bouchet in the Libournais); in the Basque Country, in Irouléguy, it’s known as Acheria.

Cabernet France has white bud with a carmine rim. Young bronzed leaves. Adult leaves three or five-lobed. Almost closed petiolar sinus. The leaf blade has hammered and shiny appearance. Medium bunches with small round grapes.

Aromas are of cocoa, blackcurrant (sometimes mixed with vegetal notes of bramble wood), quince, spices, ivy leaf, fern, strawberry, raspberry, very ripe fruit, mentholated notes, dry pepper, green bell pepper, undergrowth, tobacco, violet…

This grape variety has vigorous vegetation and very hard wood, which is a challenge for vine cutters. Rarely vinified on its own, except for rosé winemaking, it enables the softening of tannic varietal wines from the greater southwest region: Tannat, Cabernet-Sauvignon, Fer Servadou, Merlot.

Production area: 2,222 ha (5,491 acres)

@ Gilles Cattiau / INRA