Is this the red wine you didn’t know you were missing? | Fiona Beckett on drink

is this the red wine you didnt know you were missing fiona beckett on drink

When did you last buy a bottle of cabernet franc? Were you even aware it was a variety in its own right (after all, it is easily confused with its offspring, cabernet sauvignon, with which it is often partnered)? Fans of Loire reds, of course, will be more than familiar with it – it’s the main grape in appellations such as saumur, saumur-champigny, chinon and bourgeuil, and plays an important supporting role in bordeaux. You also find it in South Africa, Argentina and Chile, where it is rare enough to be featured in Marks & Spencer’s new “Found” range, which I mentioned the other week.

Curiously for such an unheralded wine, cabernet franc can be expensive, particularly in Bordeaux and Tuscany. “Oh, that’s gorgeous!” I thought to myself after tasting the ’L Franc Proprieta Sperino 2013 at a recent Lay & Wheeler tasting, only to follow that with a gulp after learning it was £98 a bottle. Still, that’s not quite as bad as the £428 it would cost to buy a bottle of Cheval Blanc 2012 in which cab franc makes up almost half the blend. (If you had the readies, it would be almost worth investing in a case and hanging on to it until nearer the final recommended drink date of 2045, but wine investment is a mug’s game unless you know exactly what you’re doing…

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