2018 Alta Vista Cabernet Franc Estate
2018 Alta Vista Cabernet Franc Estate Alta Vista’s Vive Cabernet Sauvignon shows the distinct characteristics of this variety. With ripe and spicy berries, this wine’s aromas and flavors provide an excellent introduction to the fresh, fruit-forward characters and overall quality of wines from Argentina.
Cabernet Franc is a black-skinned French wine grape variety grown in most wine producing nations. The variety is most famously known as the third grape of Bordeaux and can be found in many of the world’s top Bordeaux Blend wines. It most commonly appears in blended red wines, where it adds herbaceous accents of tobacco and dark spice.
Its varietal wines are light to medium bodied and often show vegetal characteristics, in particular green bell peppers. This has led many wine drinkers to incorrectly identify Cabernet Franc as unripe Cabernet Sauvignon, or even Carmenère. This has been highlighted in Friuli, Italy, where plantings thought to be Cabernet Franc were later classified as Carmenere.
Cabernet Franc is commonly compared to Cabernet Sauvignon, which is not without justification. Along with Sauvignon Blanc, the former is a parent of the latter. (Recent DNA profiling has also shown that Cabernet Franc is also one of Merlot’s parents).
However, Cabernet Franc ripens at least a week earlier than Cabernet Sauvignon. While it has thinner skin and lower acidity, it is also known for its hardiness and often grown as an “insurance” grape.
Cabernet Franc’s home is widely accepted as Libournais in Bordeaux. Within this sub-region are the prestigious villages of Pomerol and Saint-Émilion, which is where some of the most highly regarded Cabernet Franc wines originate. Examples include Cheval Blanc (typically around two-thirds Cabernet Franc) and Ausone (which is an even split of Cabernet Franc and Merlot).
The variety prefers cool, inland climates such as the Loire Valley. The appellations of Chinon (in Touraine) along with Saumur and Saumur-Champigny (in Anjou) are important bastions of varietal Cabernet Franc wines. The wines are prized for their aromas of ripe berry and sweet spices. Top examples can also be found in the Anjou Villages appellation, and in Bourgueil and Saint-Nicolas de Bourgeil in Touraine. (That said, all of these AOCs do permit minority portions of other varieties.) Lighter examples from these regions generally exhibit graphite and red licorice notes, with darker wines showing more cigar and leather aromas.