Wine lovers from all walks of life may have questions that keep their mind spinning for days. Velvet Palate’s Virtual Sommelier brings light in this darkness and provides handy tips. This time around I want to tackle the following question, received from a wine lover:
Q: I have become an aficionado of Cabernet Francs and Malbecs. What are their similarities, if there are any?
A: That's a hard one to provide you with a single answer, but we will give you some suggestions in terms of the two varietals.
Both Cabernet Franc and Malbec are used in Bordeaux blends.
Cabernet Franc is mostly used as a blending grape to add more complexity to the wine. The grape is mostly blended with Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot to round out the robust flavors of the Cabernet Sauvignon. It adds elegance and peppery notes to the blend. This grape varietal can also stand on its own.
If you like this varietal, we would recommend that you try it from different regions. The wine will, depending on the terroir, provide you with a different experience. Cabernet Francs from the Loire, France taste very different compared to the ones in Bordeaux. 100% Cabernet Francs are also produced in Virginia, Napa, Sonoma (USA) and Italy. Try one of those regions to detect similarities and/or differences.
For a Malbec, we would recommend a similar strategy. This grape is dark purple with firm tannins. Malbecs are great food wines. The grape varietal is not similar to any other grape varietal, but in different regions the Malbec shows different characteristics. Malbec wines in Chile tend to be more tannic than their ubiquitous neighboring counterpart in Argentina. You can also try New World vs Old World Malbec wines. (Provided by Velvet Palate.)