Cabernet Franc is a very food friendly wine. Its high acidity, medium-bodied profile and herbaceous aromas make Cabernet Franc a perfect choice for many dishes. Steak, charcuterie, sausages, veal, and roasted chicken are just a few suggestions for this delicious grape. Characteristic savoury notes of green pepper in combination with red fruit make Cabernet Franc a perfect wine for food pairing.
Published April 23rd 2021
Cabernet Franc grape gives medium bodied red wines with good acidity and a complex flavour profile of both savoury and fruity aromas. This makes Cabernet Franc an excellent food wine that pairs well with different types of meat, stews, and other dishes. In this wine guide you will learn more about Cabernet Franc food pairings.
Cabernet Franc is one of the three main grapes of the French wine region Bordeaux. In fact, it is the parent grape of Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. Together, they are the main grapes in the famous Bordeaux blend. Cabernet Franc adds its characteristic savoury peppery and red fruit aromas to the blend.
Cabernet Franc is also made as a single varietal wine. It gives fresh, dry and medium-bodied red wines with high acidity. The wine has characteristic aromas of green bell pepper as well as red fruit like raspberry and strawberry. Its aroma profile is often described as vegetal due to its savoury aromas of vegetables, grass, and herbs. Sometimes, spicy aromas of chili can also be identified. The savoury and herbaceous profile in combination with the red berries make Cabernet Franc an interesting and delicious grape.
Cabernet Franc is also grown outside of Bordeaux. Famous wine regions for this varietal include Loire in France, Friuli Venezia Giulia in Italy and California in the USA. It is also grown in Chile, South Africa, Argentina, Hungary and other countries.
Note: Compared to Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc is better suited for slightly cooler climates. The grapes are similar, but Cabernet Franc is less tannic with more red fruit aromas.
Cabernet Franc is a very food friendly wine. This grape pairs well with many different types of foods. Not only rich meat dishes will pair well with Cabernet Franc, but also vegetarian dishes and different types of cheeses.
The high acidity together with flavours of herbs and red fruits make Cabernet Franc a great food wine. When paring Cabernet Franc with food it is important to take into consideration the following characteristics of the wine:
The best serving temperature for Cabernet Franc is 14-17°C (57-63°F).
A classic food pairing for Cabernet Franc is steak and other types of meat. The savoury and herbaceous flavours of the wine will match the seasoning of many meat dishes. The peppery aromas of Cabernet Franc will pair with pepper aromas in any meat dish. Cabernet Franc is especially a great pairing with steak and lamb as they are often seasoned with herbs and pepper.
Try a single varietal Cabernet Franc or a blend with one the following meat dishes:
Tips! The high acidity in the wine will balance the fat in the meat. It is also a good match to fatty and/or acid sauces like bearnaise sauce and BBQ-sauce.
Cabernet Franc in an excellent wine for charcuterie and sausages. The peppery and herbaceous aromas of this fresh wine matches with savoury charcuteries. Cabernet franc charcuterie pairing includes:
Tips! Cabernet Franc also pairs well with many cheeses which makes it a great red wine for a charcuterie- and cheese board.
Lighter Cabernet Franc, especially those from Loire, will pair well with lighter meat such as chicken or duck. It is a perfect wine for roasted or grilled chicken and hearty chicken dishes with herbs.
Cabernet Franc + pasta+ cheese + tomato sauce + meat (optional) = match made in heaven!
Lasagna, pasta bolognese and other rich pasta dishes will pair very well with a glass of Cabernet Franc. The high acidity in the wine balances the acid tomato sauce as well as the fat in the cheese. A medium-bodied Cabernet Franc pairs well with the following pasta dishes:
The vegetal profile of the wine makes it an excellent choice for many vegetarian dishes, including:
Cabernet Franc is a great red wine for any type of meaty appetizers or charcuterie. Make a snack- or charcuterie platter with some of the following:
Cabernet Franc pairs well with many different types of cheeses, which makes it an excellent red wine for a cheese platter. The best choice for this medium-bodied red is a hard cheese like Cheddar, Manchego, Parmigiano-Reggiano, and Pecorino. The salty and savoury flavours of these cheeses pair wonderfully with the typical flavours of Cabernet Franc.
Thanks to its high acidity and medium-bodied profile, Cabernet Franc can also be paired with semi-soft cheeses like Gruyère and Gouda and creamy cheeses like Brie or Camembert.
It is also one of the few red wines that can be paired with goat cheese. A red wine will usually overpower the delicate aromas of the goat cheese, but an herbaceous Cabernet Franc from Loire (where the style is usually lighter) can match the grassy goat cheese. There are many goat cheeses produced in the Loire valley and red wine from the region are usually matched with the local cheeses.
Tips! Read more about good cheese pairings in our Wine & Cheese Pairing Guide.
Cabernet Franc is not the best choice for sweet desserts because of the dry profile of the wine. However, some Cabernet Francs have slightly chocolaty flavours which can be a good match with dark chocolate.
Cabernet Franc wines from Chile are known for their flavours of jammy fruits and milk chocolate, which could be a good pairing with chocolate.
Enjoy your food and wine!