Cabernet Franc 2019

Product Image
Cabernet Franc 2019
Cabernet Franc 2019

Although Inwood has grown and produced Cab Franc for many years, until now all of it has been used for our various Bordeaux blends. These wines include the very popular range of Magellan, Magdalena, Chateau Marie LaRose, and others.

As you know, traditionally there were 5 varietals used in Bordeaux (Cabernet, Cab Franc, Petit Verdot, Merlot and Malbec), although more recently Carmenere has come back to France after having been thought extinct. This was the famous "lost 6th" varietal from the 1880s.

I doubt Carmenere will ever make much impact in Bordeaux again, as it is far and away the spiciest grape of the collection, and modern Bordeaux has trended sharply away from spicy wines in favor of fruity wines. I have written about this in great detail, most recently in my essay released in January titled "When should I drink my wine?" The reason this is important is that the spice factor in blended wines, whatever it will be in the future, will now fall to Cab Franc, which is the second spiciest grape in the group.

When we talk about "spice" in wine, what we are really talking about is a sub-class of chemical compounds in grapes called methoxypyrazines. These compounds account for the pepper in reds (whether green or red or black) and the sometimes maligned cat-pee odors in whites such as underripe Sauvignon Blanc. Pyrazines also correlate strongly to ripeness, meaning that they decrease as fruit stays on the vine longer and/or achieves higher levels of ripeness through other methods such as yield reduction.

Concentration of pyrazines in wine vary widely from variety to variety as well. This is where genetics become crucial. In a way, each of the various Bordeaux grapes bring something unique to the final product through their genetics. Cab Franc and Cabernet (to a lesser extent) bring spice; Malbec and Petit Verdot bring anthocyanins (color and some fragrance); Merlot brings soft fruit.

Therefore, making Cab Franc as a varietal is tricky. For a blend, you can make your Cab Franc plenty spicy, and then simply use less of it to achieve the exact level of spice you want in the final product. For a varietal, however, the wine needs to be riper, but not so ripe that the pepper is gone. Picking at exactly the right moment becomes much more important.

Not wishing to ignite a controversy, I am going to make an overly generalized statement, acknowledging in advance that there are notable exceptions: Napa is generally not known for excellent Cab Franc because Napa produces extremely ripe grapes. Excessively ripe Cab Franc lacks the characteristic spice, and is therefore reduced to a rather dull red wine. The spice is what makes Cab Franc everything it is, and in a place like Napa, a winemaker would have to make a conscious effort to pick earlier than normal, something which rarely fits into a tight harvest schedule. Yes, there are exceptions, but generally my observation stands:
Cab Franc is mostly an afterthought in Napa.

Even here in Texas, we have to make a special effort to pick Cab Franc before it goes overripe. This is one of the reasons we have been slow to release Cab Franc as a varietal. Fortunately, with our recent addition of Cab Franc from Narra Vineyards in West Texas, we now have more of these grapes to work with and can make two different wines, one for blending and one for a stand alone varietal.

Our 2019 Cab Franc is about the right spice level for a varietal. It is riper than what we use for blending, but not as abundantly ripe like the Cabernet we use for Mericana. The varietal identity of the wine is self evident and well represented, yet the texture is soft enough to enjoy on its own. This wine can be opened anytime from now (2022) to 2024 to enjoy its freshness.

This wine will be shipped to Jeroboam level members along with 2019 Petite Sirah.

Other notes

Harvest rate: 2 tons per acre

DesignationGillespie County, Texas
Volume750 ml
Add to Cart
Sold Out
Subtotal: $0.00
Shopping Summary

There are currently
no items in your cart.

Shop Now


Buy 12 bottles and receive a 20% case discount.

Loading... Modal Background

Please wait while we process your order...