The Vines of Mendoza

An Easy Introduction to Argentina’s Cabernet Franc


With roots firmly planted in the Bordeaux region of France, Cabernet Franc has since ventured out into the wine world to become an international variety that shows remarkable diversity in vineyards across the globe. In Argentina, this rugged, early-ripening grape claims almost 2300 acres of vineyard space with our own Vines of Mendoza boasting 115 acres intentionally devoted to Cab Franc. It’s no secret that most consumers and connoisseurs associate the beloved Malbec grape with Argentina first and foremost, yet Argentinean Cabernet Franc is quickly garnering the recognition and celebration of enthusiasts near and far. While current trends show that over half of the country’s Cab Franc is still consumed locally, the export market is rapidly gaining ground as producers proudly plant more vineyard space to this charming red wine grape.

Cabernet Franc – The Grape: Surprisingly, it was Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc that were accidentally crossed back in the 1700s to produce today’s eminent Cabernet Sauvignon grape. Versatile and spunky, Cab Franc shines bright in many Bordeaux-themed blends where it adds aromatic interest and bright acidity, while also handling itself with elegance and abundant style as a single varietal. When Cab Franc is built and bottled as a varietal wine its quick to make new friends with its easy-going approachable style, softer palate profile and sweet and savory aromas. In the glass, Cab Franc typically shows pale ruby to darker purple hues, with a medium-body, dry profile and often lively acidity combined with somewhat lower levels of tannin in cooler climates.

Cabernet Franc – Flavor and Aromatic Profile: It brings a soft, velvety texture on the palate with a heady mix of red and black fruit character. Expect, blackberry, red currant, raspberry, cherry and often peppery spice, tobacco leaves along with floral, herbal or mineral-driven tendencies to generously make their way into the glass. One classic characteristic of many regionally derived Cabernet Francs that stands out like an aromatic beacon in blind tastings is a spicy, green bell pepper scent. This green quality can make it an exceptional pairing wine for more pungent fare like wild game, lamb, or duck.

Cabernet Franc – Easy Pairing Partners:  Cabernet Franc’s elevated acidity and moderate tannins give it a leg up for pairing with a wide range of cuisines. A remarkably food-friendly wine, the herbal undertones of the wine itself lends a complementary pairing with many dishes inspired by fresh, seasonal herbs, veggies or mushroom themes. It is also quite capable of being a carnivore’s dream. The rich body and mouthwatering acidity of Cab Franc show well against the backdrop of roasted lamb, grilled steak, pork tenderloin, and the zippy acid levels give zesty tomato-based barbecue sauce the green light on poultry, beef, or pulled pork sliders.

Quick Picks – Popular Cabernet Franc to try: Get ahead of the curve and jump into Argentina’s next big, red grape revolution with rich, regional Cabernet Franc.

  • El Enemigo Cabernet Franc

  • Pulenta State Cabernet Franc

  • Alma Gemela Cabernet Franc

  • Desquiciado Cabernet Franc

  • Argento Cabernet Franc Reserva

  • Fabre Montmayou Reserva Cabernet Franc


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