Cabernet Franc is a black-skinned French wine grape variety grown in most wine producing nations. The variety is most famously known as the third grape of Bordeaux and can be found in many of the world’s top Bordeaux Blend wines. It can also be vinified alone.

Outside France, Cabernet Franc is grown in Italy, New Zealand, Australia, South Africa and the Americas. In Canada, it is produced as a dry red wine, but perhaps more interestingly as an icewine in Ontario.

Cabernet Franc is very similar to Cabernet Sauvignon, but buds and ripens at least a week earlier. This trait allows the vine to thrive in slightly cooler climates than Cabernet Sauvignon. Cabernet Franc is lighter than Cabernet Sauvignon, making a bright pale red wine that contributes finesse and lends a peppery perfume to blends with more robust grapes. Depending on the growing region and style of wine, additional aromas can include tobacco, raspberry, bell pepper, cassis, and violets.

Italy is the second largest producer of Cabernet Franc. Much of it is made in Friuli-Venezia Giulia but perhaps the most well-known Italian Cabernet Franc wines come from Tuscany. The Paleo Rosso 2013 by Le Macchiole estate is an exceptional example of 100% Cabernet Franc wine from Bolgheri region, Tuscany. First produced in 1989, this incredible wine is one of the symbols of Bolgheri winemaking and it is one of the world’s best-known Cabernet Francs.

The Paleo Rosso 2013 has deep ruby red colour, notes of blackcurrant, coffee, green tea and spices. A full-bodied wine with elegant tannins, very rich and deep in the mouth. A long aging wine, with a strong character.

Critic scores: RP 97, JS 97, JD 96, W&S 95, WE 92
Vivino: 4.4

Amsterdam, February 12th 2020