On Wine


Franc vs. Sauvignon
Mirror, Mirror on the Wall,
Which CAB Is Fairest of Them All?


by Fred McMillin



Cabernet Sauvignon is the standard for red wines, and will remain so.
     —The Wall Street Journal


In the Loire Valley in France Cabernet Franc has been a staple for a thousand years. Many Cabernet Sauvignon fans are switching to Cabernet Franc because of its lighter tannin and acidity. Also, it adds a pleasing hint of raspberries.
     —The New York Times

So, how does today's Franc stack up against the time-honored Sauvignon? To get an answer, we matched a number of Francs with their Sauvignon counterparts—same vintage, same price range. Here are the best.


$15 Maximum

  • 1st Sauvignon, Hahn Estates, Central Coast, 2005, $14

$35 Maximum

  • 3rd Sauvignon, Flora Springs, Napa Valley, 2002, $30
  • 2nd Sauvignon, Valley of the Moon, Sonoma County, 2004, $20
  • 1st Franc, Ballentine Vineyards, Napa Valley, 2001, $24

$60 Maximum

  • 2nd Franc, St. Supery, Napa Valley, 2004, $40
  • 1st Sauvignon, Hess Collection, Napa Valley, 2004, $50

Over $60

  • Franc, Jarvis Winery, Napa Valley, 2002, $70

So, my students at S.F. City College (Ft. Mason campus) gave high ratings to seven Cabs—four Sauvignon and three Francs.

Sauvignon won—it had more on the top list than did Franc. Franc won—it garnered three of the top four spots. As the New York Times indicated, Franc is getting close to being the fairest!


And A Final Wine Smile

Come up and Simi sometime...and bring one of the Simi chardonnays. They have gotten good marks in my classes for over 10 years.


Fred McMillin

About the Writer

Fred McMillin, a veteran wine writer, has taught wine history for 30 years on three continents. He was voted one of the U.S.A's 22 Best wine writers by the Academy of Wine Communications. For information about the wine courses he teaches every month at San Francisco City College (Fort Mason Division), please fax him at (415) 567-4468.


Copyright © 2009, Fred McMillin. All rights reserved.


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This page created April 2009

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