Cabernet Franc; as we know it, or not…

A study in tasting, from our very own Isa Bal MS:

I often think and spend some time questioning the accepted norms when it comes to wine. My mind often asks: what is classic in terms of wine? 

Classic can be described as the accepted style of a wine coming from universally acknowledged regions and vineyards.

However, I feel the word “classic” is often used to exclude new styles and origins. We find a comfort zone in which we are hesitant to open ourselves to newer regions and grape varieties.

It has become an obstacle in front of some great wines outside of the accepted norms. Our wine education is often the source of this situation. 

While I adore wines from Burgundy, Bordeaux and many other well known regions I also question their superiority when it comes to their respective grape varieties.

There are 5-10 thousand Vitis Vinifera varieties in the world. To reduce the number of varieties to around ten in terms of commercial wine production can be called a road to vinous hell. One needs an open mind, a love of wine and a willingness to try any wine without a preconceived bias.

To test what I am talking about here, I have decided to conduct series of tastings at Trivet Tasting Club. First of these was held on Saturday 22nd July, looking at the Cabernet Franc variety.

Cabernet Franc is a grape varietal generally associated and considered to be at home in the Loire Valley. It is the major red varietal in the above mentioned region, but it has in the recent decades been giving us some fabulous wines outside of its historic home. It is also one of the parents of the much championed Cabernet Sauvignon.

Have the other regions of the world been catching up with Loire? 

During our event, Trivet Tasting Club members blind-tasted 16 samples, from some of the best known examples to what one can call obscure origins.

The twist in the tasting was that we had Tim Atkin MW tasting the same wines separately. As experts, how do our preferences differ from that of the end consumer? 

I am sure he will write about his impressions on the wines. But here are the top 6 wines, according to our Tasting Club members:

This is obviously a tiny study with just 24 club members participating, and it will need to be scrutinised more and perhaps repeated with larger groups to see a solid pattern.

I think Cabernet Franc is becoming a global variety and – with that – its traditional description of character will need to change.

It was a pleasure for us to serve the below selection in this experiment, with thanks for generous support from Matt Wilkin MS Stefan Neumann MS Liberty Wines Ltd Dimitri Mesnard MS ALLY Wines Christelle Guibert Tim Atkin Trivet Restaurant CHAMLIJA FAMILY ESTATE Château Kalpak

Our next event will be a journey from Tbilisi to Porto looking at indigenous varieties that has got some organoleptical resemblance which promises to put light on some much overlooked wines. If you have any questions about the Trivet Tasting Club please don’t hesitate to email