It’s the plot of a hundred Broadway movies — a gal or guy wants to break out of the chorus line and becomes a star. But does she or he have what it takes?
Not to anthropomorphize too blatantly, but the grape called cabernet franc is like that. Its greatest success is as part of an ensemble called red bordeaux, in which it contributes sweet aromas of violets and tobacco and a helpful lightness to the cabernet sauvignon, merlot, malbec and petit verdot.
When it’s on its own, as the sole or principal grape, however, some find it too light, lacking the structure and weight for a starring role. The herbaceous smell that is charming in small amounts can become an off-putting green bell pepper aroma if the grape is picked too early, they say.
But the plot thickens. In California’s warm, sunny climate, the grape can mature, grow riper and more nuanced, with intense, juicy fruit and aromas from cassis to black plums to tart cherries.
There can be breakout performances, as demonstrated in these cab francs from the 2012 Sonoma Harvest Fair in Santa Rosa, Calif.
Highly recommended2009 Wilson Winery Estate Cabernet Franc, 2009 Highway 12 Reserve Cabernet Franc,
Recommended2008 Selby Cabernet Franc,