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Naturally in Niagara

The Grape Files – Cabernet Franc

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Cabernet Franc

Cabernet Franc is a red wine that flourishes in the Niagara climate. It loves the weather, the soil, the length of our ripening period and shows off some delicious layers of complex flavours in the glass. While not all wineries are creating Cabernet Francs to be enjoyed by the masses, those that are have a reputation for doing an exceptional job!


Among the most popular red grapes in the world, it is primarily known for its supporting role in many of the Bordeaux blends that are savoured for their beautiful profiles. In the Bordeaux blend you will find it mostly teamed with Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. It is vinified as a soloist in the Loire, and of course in Canada and the United States, along with other new world regions that have adopted the grape as a valuable member of the regional portfolio. In fact, in Canada this wine is now developed into delicious ice wines.

The grape originates in the southwest of France, was transported to the Loire, and was later moved to Bordeaux to create well-rounded blends in Pomerol and St. Emilion. It is featured prominently on both the left and right bank of Bordeaux, and has recently become a mainstay in the new world wine scene. Today, Cabernet Franc is widely available in France, Canada, the United States, New Zealand, Hungary, Spain, Chile, and Argentina.


In the glass, Cabernet Franc shows off a variety of delicious flavours that are well complimented by much of Niagara’s local cuisine. The most common profile notes are raspberry, bell pepper, cassis, violets and even tobacco, especially when treated to generous aging in French oak barrels.

Putting something on the plate to compliment these wines is unbelievably easy! Beef, pork, ham and lamb? Go for it! Thinking salmon? Even better! Mushrooms are a perfect partner, as are green olives, peppers and herbs! See what I’m saying? This is an easily paired wine with so many options, you really cannot go wrong!

When you talk elements of the dish, think salt. It works well against tannins, the mouth-drying effect that happens in wine. Think grilled steaks with oven roasted potatoes topped with sea salt alongside a mushroom gravy? Perfection!

Enjoy this exceptional wine and indulge in the many pairing options that you can try with a favourite bottle. A well-paired meal is a simple pleasure, and you deserve one!

The Author

Allie Hughes is the wine and culinary contributor to Naturally in Niagara, feasting on the decadent experience that is life in this region. With a fine wine sensibility honed at the International Sommelier Guild, Allie is taking the journey of Niagara by the glass with you with each new taste. Allie is also the creative mind behind the marketing of the Canadian Food and Wine Institute, and owner of Hughes & Co., a boutique social strategy firm.

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