It's #CabFrancDay and this East Coast wine lover is ready for it
Today is #CabFrancDay, a day to celebrate the Cabernet Franc grape and educate wine drinkers that it's not just a blending grape. Cab Franc (Franc rhymes with honk - or as I like to think of it, it's pronounced like Martin Short's wedding planner character's name Franck in the 90s "Father of the Bride" movies) is one of the common grapes in Bordeaux or Bordeaux blend wines, and somewhere along the line, it became thought of primarily as a red blend grape.
But, the grape—that along with Sauvignon Blanc is a parent of Cabernet Sauvignon—makes an excellent single variety wine, too. Lori Budd of Dracaena Wines in Paso Robles began #CabFranc Day in 2015 (I think - she'll let me know if I have that wrong) to highlight the grape. Her small, family run winery makes gold-medal winning Cabernet Franc—both red and rosé—and she designated December 4 as a day to spread the word about this grape.
This is a different event than the generic #drinkwineday, #nationaldrinkwineday or other wine marketing days that fill our social media feeds from time to time. It's designed as an educational day with relevant discussions. Lori invites all Cab Franc producers to participate, giving them an opportunity to send a sample of their wine to wine journalists and bloggers who will write about the wine they receive, promote it on social media at specific times, and participate in a quick chat with the winery, and the quick chats happen tonight.
This evening, beginning at 5pm PT, there will be a Twitter #CabFrancDay discussion. From 5-6pm PT there will be a general discussion about Cabernet Franc. Then from 6pm-shortly after 7pm PT, each writer who received a wine will have a five minute window to chat directly with a representative from their respective winery.
I'll be chatting with Jim Baker of Chateau Niagara in Newfane, NY from 7:02-7:06pm PT about his Cab Franc. I was excited to be sent an East Coast Cab Franc. It's pictured in the photo to the right and above with a few other bottles from other East Coast producers, PA's Galer Estate, NJ's Cedar Rose Vineyards, and VA's Chatham Vineyards. I pulled those other three bottles out of their resting places in my cellar for the photo. The grape grows well along the Eastern Seaboard. East Coast Cab Franc's are often a go-to wine for me when I want to share with people who are unfamiliar with what's happening with wine in this part of the country.
Cabernet Franc, in general, has fresh fruit flavors — often strawberry, plum, cherry or blackberry, although it will vary from palate to palate, wine to wine, vintage to vintage. A slight green pepper taste is a common characteristic, but Sharrott says there should be only a hint of it. It’s lightly tannic and dry, making it a great wine to pair with fatty foods.
That hint of green pepper mentioned? It can be divisive characteristic in wine circles, and I imagine that will be part of this evening's chat. If you want to join in, hop on Twitter at 5pm PT and follow along with the hashtag #CabFrancDay.