Cabarnet flowers 311.
(photo credit: MCT)
Cabernet Franc is a grape variety that is becoming more popular in
However, it is not new here. In the 19th century, when Baron
Edmond de Rothschild first insisted on planting varieties from Bordeaux,
Cabernet Franc was planted along with Cabernet Sauvignon and Malbec. Originally
more Cabernet Franc was planted than the other two varieties. In those days it
was known as Bouchet or, confusingly, Bordo.
However, it gradually
disappeared, as yields were too low for the growers, and there was no market for
a more expensive table wine. The wine consumer then wanted inexpensive kiddush
wines or altar and communion wine “from the Holy Land.” Quality grape varieties
were not needed for “liquid religion” wines. So when the noble Bordeaux grapes
became affected by phylloxera, the louse that devastated vineyards throughout
Europe, they were grubbed up and replaced with Carignan and
Cabernet Franc returned to Israel in the 1990s. The first
winery to use it in blends was the Golan Heights Winery. It added it to some of
the early Yarden Katzrin wines.
It was only in the 2000s that the variety
really made its comeback. The first of the larger wineries to produce a varietal
Cabernet Franc was Carmel, which came out with its Appellation Cabernet Franc in
the 2002 vintage. The smaller wineries to support this variety were Margalit and
Vitkin, which produced their first Cabernet Francs in 2001 and 2002,
Cabernet Franc, though less famous than the all-conquering
Cabernet Sauvignon, was in fact the original Cabernet grape. In Bordeaux, it
usually plays only a supporting role to other, more dominant varieties. Cabernet
Franc is overshadowed by Cabernet Sauvignon in the Medoc and by Merlot in St.
Emilion and Pomerol. It comes into its own in the Loire Valley, where red wines
from the villages of Saumur, Bourgueil and Chinon are made from Cabernet Franc.
These normally produce light, herby, earthy wines. The very best expression of
this variety is in St. Emilion’s Chateau Cheval Blanc, one of the world’s finest
wines, where more than 60 percent of the blend is Cabernet Franc. It also grows
with success in northeast Italy, where it is sometimes known as Cabernet Frank
or just Cabernet. Lately it has also been planted in California, Australia,
Argentina, New Zealand and South Africa.
Cabernet Franc tends to be at
its best in cooler climates, and possibly the Upper Galilee is where it thrives
best in Israel.
However, there are also good Cabernet Francs from the
southern Mount Carmel area and from the Judean Hills. It is lighter in color
than Cabernet Sauvignon and is less tannic. The resulting wine is usually light
to medium bodied. It is fruitier, with aromas of raspberries and blackcurrants,
has good balancing acidity and a green, herbaceous character. There some
followers of Cabernet Franc who believe this is the grape for which Israel will
become known in the future.The Good Stuff:
Some of the better Cabernet Francs in Israel are listed below (NK = Not kosher)
:BEST VALUE NIS 50
TO NIS 75
Carmel Appellation Cabernet Franc 2008: Medium-bodied Cabernet Franc
with delicate berry fruit, an aroma of bell pepper and a clean, well-balanced
finish. The wine comes from the Upper Galilee vineyards and represents excellent
value.BEST QPR NIS 75 TO NIS 100
Tulip Mostly Cabernet Franc 2008 (NK):
Full-bodied Cabernet Franc with a pronounced sweetness from oak
Tulip is a praiseworthy winery in Kfar Tikva. Some of its workers
have disabilities or special needs. It will produce kosher wine from the 2010
Recanati Cabernet Franc Reserve 2008: This wine has a nose of
cherries and raspberries with a backdrop of sweet vanilla from oak
aging. The Recanati Winery is situated at Emek Hefer in the Sharon Plain.
Most of its vineyards are in the Upper Galilee.
Psagot Cabernet Franc
2008 :This wine shows good varietal character, including the slightly green
character that fans of Cabernet Franc like. It is made by the Psagot Winery,
which is situated in the northern Jerusalem mountains. It is a fast-improving
winery.SPECIAL PURCHASE NIS 100 - 150
Vitkin Cabernet Franc 2008 (NK): A
full-bodied, quite tannic Cabernet Franc, which will soften with bottle age. It
shows good fruit with blackberry, raspberry and cherry notes. The Vitkin Winery
is a specialist in lesser-known varieties.
Ella Valley Vineyards Cabernet
Franc 2007: One of the best Cabernet Francs produced in Israel. This wine has
good cherry, blackberry fruit, rounded mouth feel and soft tannins. The Ella
Valley Winery is situated in Kibbutz Netiv Halamed Heh.LUXURY NIS 150+
Margalit Cabernet Franc 2008 (NK): Full-bodied, deep-colored wine showing complex
aromas of blackberry, cassis and tobacco with a herby, oaky backdrop. Margalit’s
Cabernet Franc comes from its vineyard in Binyamina.
Pelter T Selection
Cabernet Franc 2008 (NK): Tight, elegant Cabernet Franc with notes of
blackcurrant and cherry, green pepper and good balancing acidity and tannins.
The Pelter Winery is one of Israel’s finest boutique wineries and is situated on
the Golan Heights.Adam Montefiore works for Carmel Winery and
regularly writes about Israeli wine for international and Israeli