Updated July 19th 2023
The Cabernet Franc grape gives medium-bodied red wines with good acidity and a complex flavor profile of both savory 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 an interesting grape which is gaining more and more attention among wine consumers. Its flavour combination of herbaceous aromas of green pepper together with delicious red fruits makes it a great wine with food. The questions is, which food goes best with Carbernet Franc? The short answer is: veal and other meat dishes. Keep reading to find out more about Cabernet Franc and the best food pairings.
Cabernet Franc is one of the three main grapes of the French wine region of Bordeaux. In fact, it is the parent grape of Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. Together, these are the three main grapes in the famous Bordeaux blend. Cabernet Franc adds its characteristic savory, 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. Wine made from Cabernet Franc has characteristic aromas of green bell pepper and red fruit like raspberry and strawberry. Its aroma profile is often described as vegetal due to its savory aromas of vegetables, grass, and herbs. Sometimes, spicy aromas of chili can also be identified. With a savory and herbaceous profile, in combination with red berries, make Cabernet Franc an interesting and delicious grape.
Cabernet Franc is also grown outside Bordeaux. Famous wine regions for this varietal include Loire in France, Friuli Venezia Giulia in Italy and California in the USA. Cabernet Franc 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 and has more red fruit aromas.
Cabernet Franc pairs well with many different types of foods. Not only with rich meat dishes, but also vegetarian dishes and different types of cheeses.
The high acidity, together with flavors 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. Its peppery aromas will pair with pepper aromas in any meat dish. Cabernet Franc is an especially great pairing with steak and lamb, as they are often seasoned with herbs and pepper.
Try a single varietal Cabernet Franc or blend with one the following meat dishes:
Tips! The high acidity in Cabernet Franc will balance the fat in the meat. It is also a good match for 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 match the savory charcutery cuts. 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 Francs, especially those from Loire, will pair well with lighter meats 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 acidity of the 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 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 savory flavors of these cheeses pair wonderfully with the typical flavors 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.
Cabernet Franc 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 goat cheese, but a 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 wines 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 can be a good pairing with chocolate.
Enjoy your food and wine!