Did you know that cabernet franc is the most important red grape of France's Loire Valley, a blending varietal of Bordeaux, one of the genetic parents of cabernet sauvignon, and Virginia’s most planted red grape?

Cabernet franc is thinner-skinned, earlier-ripening and fairs better in cold winters than cabernet sauvignon does. When planted in warmer weather regions greater levels of ripeness and more intense fruit structure develop. When ripeness levels are low, vegetative aromas such as bell pepper can be present due to a compound called methoxypyrazine.
At its best, the grape produces a wine of medium body, solid acidity, medium tannins, and savory and spicy aromas and flavors. It’s highly versatile and makes fragrant, elegant wines with earthy, peppery and herbal notes. Younger, lighter-bodied cabernet franc is an ideal red wine for summer, while the fuller-bodied wines are delicious with roasted meats such as a leg of lamb. 
Visitors to local wineries are familiar with the grape as it is considered to be among Virginia’s best red wines. The VA Wine Board’s 2014 Commercial Grape Report indicates that 964 tons of cabernet franc was produced. King Family Vineyards in Crozet has five acres of cabernet franc planted and harvests an average of four tons an acre each vintage, according to Wine Manager Matt Brown.

Ivy Provisions has organized a unique event so that our customers can learn more about cabernet franc. You’ll meet at King Family Vineyards where wine savvy Matt Brown, who is finishing his Level  IV certification from the Wine & Spirit Trust, will lead the private tour. You’ll walk through the vineyard where the cabernet franc is planted to discuss soil types, vineyard practices, and wine making techniques. Join Matt in a barrel tasting of the as of yet unreleased 2015 vintage, the 2014 vintage and a selection of older vintages from their library of wines. I will also be there offering light fare including fruit and artisan cheese, charcuterie, and ham biscuits, courtesy of Ivy Provisions. There will be time for socializing and questions.
The event is scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 27 from 1:30 to 3 p.m. How do you take advantage of this exclusive opportunity? If you would like to attend, please call King Family Vineyards at 434-823-7800, Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., to purchase a ticket. Price is $45 per person. We expect to get an enthusiastic response and encourage you to act quickly as space is limited.