Harvest Series 2021: Week 7
While Niagara is not necessarily known for its reds, one thing that we do incredibly well is Cabernet Franc. Cabernet Franc is a grape that very few places outside of Ontario do as a stand-alone wine, as it will typically be blended with other Bordeaux grapes such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petite Verdot, etc. Here in Niagara, it is an incredibly important grape that can do so many different things. From using Cabernet Franc in white wines (yes you read that right, white wines can be made from red grapes), sparkling wines, rosé, light-bodied reds, and incredibly heavy reserve styles, to even Icewine and Late Harvest. Let's explore more of what this incredible grape can do.
As we've discussed, Cabernet Franc can do almost anything in the wine world. What a lot of people don't know however is the grapes lineage. Cabernet Franc is one of the noble grapes and is a parent to some of the most well-known grapes in the world. Cabernet Sauvignon for example is the offspring of Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc, and Merlot is the offspring of Cabernet Franc and Magdeleine Noire des Charentes. Cabernet Franc. Cabernet Franc is very well acclimatized to our colder Niagara weather, as it typically ripens 1-2 weeks earlier compared to Cabernet Sauvignon. This makes Cabernet Franc one of the most planted grapes, and one of the most used grapes in blends all across the world.
Cool-climate Cabernet Franc, especially coming from the Niagara Peninsula, will display gorgeous notes of tart red cherry, fresh raspberries, and some slight vegetal notes as well, such as tobacco, and some herbaceous notes. Some Cabernet Franc will also pull out some white pepper notes on the back of the palate, leaving you with a touch of warmth. Cabernet Franc will typically have medium tannins and slight acidity.
Our EastDell Black Label Cabernet Franc is a great, medium-plus-bodied Cabernet Franc that is true to its nature. Tart red cherry, raspberries, slight herbaceous notes, and just a hint of white pepper. With leathery tannins, it goes well with BBQ foods, roasted duck breast, or woodfired pizza. While the wine is drinking deliciously right now, cellaring it for 2-3 years will only develop the nuances and character of the wine. Our Lakeview Cellars Cabernet Franc Icewine is a multi-award gold medal winner at various international competitions. Not as intensely sweet as other Niagara Icewines, it echoes with notes of cranberry, cherry, and strawberry with just the slightest hint of pepper to balance out the sweetness. Our Cabernet Franc Icewine is delicious with dark chocolate, a great vanilla bean ice cream, or you can marinate some fresh berries and top a gorgeous New York Cheesecake. The possibilities are truly endless with Icewine.
Hopefully, we can all now go out and find some great Ontario Cabernet Franc and enjoy the wonders that the grape can do!