For years, Cabernet Sauvignon has been the Cabernet family's trendiest grape, thanks to the fad of intense and full throttle wine coming out of Napa and its trickle-down through the industry. It seems that these days, the collective palate is veering towards the lighter, earthier, and subtler characters that can be found in Cabernet Franc. This is great news for Canadian vineyards; except for a few isolated areas in the country, Cabernet Franc is better suited to our climate. There are many great Cabernet Francs available on My Wine Canada, but here are a few recent discoveries that all fit a medium-bodied profile driven by freshness and structure:
This Cab Franc is grown in BC's Thompson Valley, an emerging wine region near the town of Kamloops. It’s medium-bodied with lots of fresh acid and present, yet soft tannins. It has the poise of a Loire Cab Franc: dark cherry fruit, coffee, and undertones of woodsy, savoury notes. ($30, 12.9% alcohol)
From Prince Edward County comes the Grange of Prince Edward's very elegant single-vineyard 'Northfield' Cab Franc. Fresh acidity, found in all their wines, adds vibrancy to the dark berry fruit, baking spice, and slight grippy tannins. ($35, 13.9% alcohol)
Grown in Niagara's Lincoln Lakeshore appellation in heavy red clay soils, comes a Cab Franc that strikes the right balance between subtlety and intensity. The characters are a lovely dark blend of blackberry, black cherry, woody spice, nutmeg, and vanilla. It's soft enough to enjoy on its own, yet still has the structure to work magic on the dinner table. ($28.95, 13% alcohol)
I've snuck the Greenlane 2013 Cabernet from Niagara's Lincoln Lakeshore appellation in as a cheeky pick. It's a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc, and it's fuller and juicier than the three previously mentioned, with notes of bing cherry, black raspberry, and cinnamon. It's easy-drinking, delicious, and great value at less than $17. ($16.95, 12.3% alcohol)
Jake Skakun is a writer and sommelier from Vancouver, currently living in Toronto. He can be found most days pulling corks and twisting caps at the Black Hoof. He Tweets and Instagrams @jakeskakun.