Cabernet Franc is well known for being a blending grape in Bordeaux, but it is so much more than that. It is not only one of the parents of Cabernet Sauvignon, but also a parent of Merlot and Carménère. Cabernet Franc is also one of the top 20 most-planted grapes in the world. It is believed that Cabernet Franc originated in the Basque region in France, where Northern Spain meets with Southwestern France, near the cost of the Bay of Biscay.
While discussing wine, terms like AOC, AOP, DOC, DOCG, AVA, and appellation are often thrown around. The acronyms and words all equate to a recognized geographical area where wine is made. Within that geographical area, there are often rules, laws, and regulations that dictate what grapes can be grown, the weight of the grapes that can be harvested off one acre or hectare, barrel aging requirements, and what percentage of grape varietals have to be in a bottle labelled with the geographical term.
Argentina may be the country that put Malbec on the worldwide stage, but the wine’s origins tie to France—particularly to a region called Cahors. Cahors makes up part of the South West France wine region, which is to the south and southeast of Bordeaux. Malbec is also grown in Bordeaux, where it is a lesser component in Bordeaux blends.
Lovers of Virginia wine are most likely already familiar with the grape Viognier. Some of Virginia’s initial recognition in the winemaking world happened, based on wine made from this grape. In fact, in 2011, the Virginia wine marketing board named Viognier the “signature” grape, to help its wines gain recognition outside of the state.
In the world of wine, there are many terms and places on labels that can be difficult to decipher. In some parts of the world, the wine is labeled by the grape variety name, and other places it is labeled by the place where the grapes are grown, and the wine is made. Sometimes having the wine labeled as the place is all you’ll need to know, to figure out what is in the bottle. In many places around the world, local laws dictate the grape or grapes that can be made into wine and bottled and labeled with that place name.