Cabernet Franc plays an important role in Bordeaux blends, where it is used to build upon Merlot’s structure, and conversely, soften the tannins in Cabernet Sauvignon. It makes a much more austere and mineral driven wine in the cooler Loire. In Friuli-Venezia-Giulia, Trentino-Alto-Adige and the Veneto, Cabernet Franc contributes structure and body to many reds. It is often used in Super Tuscan blends, such as Sassicaia.
Cabernet Franc thrives in chalky clay soils as found in Bordeaux. It is earlier ripening than Cabernet Sauvignon and is characterized by similar flavors, but with lower levels of acid, extract and tannin.
Cabernet Franc vine is thought to be native to Bordeaux and is one of the precursor grapes to Cabernet Sauvignon, which was spontaneously crossed in the late 17th century.