Ray Isle's Tasting Room
Illustration © Alex Nabaum
I don’t understand why Cabernet Franc is less popular than its offspring, Cabernet Sauvignon—I love its herbal, tea-leaf scent, its lighter body and its vivid acidity. It grows well in a wide range of places, like France’s Loire Valley, northern Italy and Tuscany, California, Chile, even New York’s Finger Lakes. Here are three to try.
2010 Russiz Superiore Collio Cabernet Franc ($26) Friuli, in Italy, makes aromatic, medium-bodied, herbal Cabernet Francs. This one is a great example.
2010 Lang & Reed North Coast Cabernet Franc ($24) Bright berry flavors are the hallmark of this red from California Cabernet Franc specialist John Skupny.
2008 Arcanum Toscana ($100) A layered, complex Cab Franc blend from the vast Tenuta di Arceno estate in Tuscany; it more than rivals super-Tuscan bottlings of the same price.
Related: Ultimate Guide to Wine Pairings
French Wine Regions: The Loire Valley
F&W's Wine Tasting & Travel Guide
Australia has more than 65 wine regions, each of them with its own climate and soil type. As a result, the wines from each region have their own distinctive characters. Here’s a geographic guide to Aussie Shiraz:
Shiraz: A Regional Guide. Art © Alex Nabaum.
Warm Climate (Pink Dots)
Regions: Barossa Valley, McLaren Vale, Heathcote, Langhorne Creek
Character: Ripe blackberries, massively rich, lots of power
Wine to Try: 2010 Torbreck Barossa Valley Woodcutter’s Shiraz ($22)
Food Pairing: Braised short ribs
Moderate Climate (Green)
Regions: Eden Valley, Clare Valley, Margaret River
Character: Tangy blackberries, substantial body, licorice and black pepper notes
Wine to Try: 2010 Jim Barry The Lodge Hill Clare Valley Shiraz ($19)
Food Pairing: Lamb chops
Cool Climate (Blue)
Regions: Great Southern, Yarra Valley, Coonawarra, Frankland River
Character: Raspberries, medium-bodied with higher acidity, herb and white pepper notes
Wine to Try: 2010 Innocent Bystander Victoria Shiraz ($20)
Food Pairing: Roast duck
Related: In Defense of Australian Shiraz