Cabernet Franc


In France, the variety is called Breton, VĂ©ron,  Noir dur, Bouchy,  Bouchet,  Gros Bouchet, Carmenet, Grosse Vidure, Messanges rouge, and Trouchetnoir. In Italy, it is known as Bordo and Cabernet frank. 


The variety may have been established in Bordeaux in the seventeenth century. 


Clusters: small to medium; cylindrical to slightly conical with shoulders; mostly well filled.

Berries: small; round, blue-black berries.Leaves: medium; mostly 5-lobed; closed,narrow U-shaped petiolar sinus; lateral

sinuses (particularly superior) often have small teeth at their base; relatively narrow, sharp teeth; rough, bumpy surface; light, tufted hair on lower surface.

Shoot tips: felty with red margin; first unfolded leaf has red-bronze highlights.

Cabernet franc is similar to Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot but differs by smaller, compact, and mostly cylindrical clusters; in petiolar sinus; and teeth in lateral sinuses. Clusters are tighter than Cabernet Sauvignon due to greater berry set.

Growth and Soil Adaptability

Vines grow vigorously in many soil types in both cool and warm regions, thus it is gener- ally advisable to avoid highly fertile, deepsoils. Well-drained soils also help keep  vigorin check. Vine spacing should be a minimum of 6 feet. Shoots grow upright, which facili- tates vertical-shoot  positioning. Budbreak and ripening precede that of Cabernet Sauvignon.

Winery Use

As avarietal wine, it  usually has a lighter body with less tannin and acid than Cabernet Sauvignon. As a result, it is often blended with this variety and occasionally with Merlot. Wines can have a pronounced vegetative aroma that is commonly associated with highly vigorous growing sites.

Rhonda J. Smith