Cab Franc is coming into style BIG TIME in Walla Walla right now. While not considered one of the quintessential Walla Walla varietals (like Syrah, Cab, and Merlot), Cab Franc is becoming ever more present in tasting rooms- and tasters are starting to ask for it.
What is Cab Franc? Cab Franc is a grape variety that is mostly used as a blending grape to beef up the aromatics in Bordeaux-style blends, and can be green or vegetal and thin when it’s not fully ripe. The Loire specializes in Cab Francs and produces some really nice 100% Cab Francs wines.
Why is it delicious? When it ripens well, it can be very aromatic and delicious and seems to lend itself well to barrel flavors. I’ve had some really deliciously fruity and floral Cab Francs, earthy and soft Cab Francs and more chocolate-vanilla (typical barrel flavors) Cab Francs. The barrel notes can beef up a Cab Franc if it’s tasting a little thin. Cab Francs also tend to be less tannic than, say, Cab Sauvs, which means they’re a little more versatile in terms of food pairings, and they’re more approachable right away.
What would you pair with Cab Franc? I’d pair Cab Franc with a dish that had some heartiness to it, but nothing that would overpower a slightly lighter wine: mushroom and spinach risotto, roasted root vegetables (beets, potatoes, carrots), or a Greek quinoa salad with feta.
Who does Cab Franc in Walla Walla? More and more wineries! I’ve tasted and enjoyed Cab Francs from Trust, Watermill, Saviah, Northstar, Tertulia, El Corazon, Balboa, and Canoe Ridge. I’m sure there are others that I haven’t yet discovered!