Wine O’Clock Wednesday: Top 15 Washington Cabernet Francs

Cabernet Franc adds both a subtly and an “oomph” to Cabernet Sauvignon and other Bordeaux varieties. But on its own, quite simply, Cabernet Franc is glorious.

Cabernet Franc is mostly known as a Bordeaux blend; when combined with both Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, Cab Franc rounds out the trio in Meritage wines. As a blending wine, Cab Franc adds more complexity to the robust Cabernet Sauvignon and adds more structure to the softer Merlot.

But as a purebred, Cab Franc is luscious, rich and elegant, known for its nose of peppery perfume, and complex aromas of cherry and berry, with notes of herbs, spices, chocolate, cedar, and sometimes even violets.

Many people don’t realize that Cabernet Franc is one of the genetic parents to Cabernet Sauvignon; the other is Sauvignon Blanc. In addition to Washington state, you can find the grape planted in California and in the Bordeaux and Loire regions in France.

Some fine Washington vintages have been produced in the Cascade Valley, while both Walla Walla and Yakima Valley offer a hot climate that is perfectly suited to ripen the Cab Franc grapes.

Cabernet Franc is one of my favorite wines, so it was easy to compile my personal top 15 list. Prices range from $28-$45 a bottle.

  1. Fielding Hills 2008 Cabernet Franc
  2. Gilbert Cellars 2007Cabernet Franc Indian Wells
  3. Matthews Estate 2003 Conner Lee Cab Franc
  4. Fidelitas Wines 2007 Red Mountain Cab Franc
  5. Barrage Cellars 2007 Outcast Cabernet Franc
  6. Watermill Winery Estate 2007 Cab Franc
  7. Walla Walla Vintners 2008 Columbia Valley Cab Franc
  8. CorlissEstates 2004 Cab Franc
  9. Hard Row to Hoe 2007 Cab Franc
  10. Vin Du Lac 2007 Barrel Select Cab Franc
  11. Northwest Totem Cellars 2006 Cab Franc
  12. The Woodhouse Wine Estates 2005 Kennedy Shah Reserve Cab Franc
  13. DiStefano Winery 2005 Sogno
  14. Red Sky 2008 Cab Franc
  15. Page Cellars 2007 Red Zepplin Cab Franc

Some of these vintages are no longer available, but you’ll likely be able to find new releases from these 15 wineries.