WineHandpicked by IWSC

Award-winning Cabernet Franc wines

From fragrant Argentinian expressions to earthy examples from Mexico and berry-tinged bottles from China, these are the best Cabernet Franc wines to try

Words by IWSC Judges

best cabernet franc
Handpicked by IWSC

If someone mentions Cabernet Franc, your mind will likely drift to France. The aromatic and fragrant grape is widely grown in Bordeaux for blending with Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, usually constituting the smallest percentage. And for 100% Cabernet Franc wines, France is still widely regarded as the place to go, with the cool Touraine region in the Loire particularly well-suited to growing the grape. 

Elsewhere in the world, the grape is often grown to be employed in copies of the classic Bordeaux blend, but we are seeing more single-varietal Cabernet Franc wines appearing. It thrives in cooler climates and at high altitudes.

With a lightness, bright raspberry fruit, soft tannins and moderate acidity, the best Cabernet Franc wines are easy to drink and can be enjoyed young – although there are of course wines with great cellaring potential too. 

cabernet franc grapes
The 2022 IWSC top Cabernet Franc wines hail from Argentina, South Africa, Mexico, Italy and China

There’s a real geographical spread to the best Cabernet Franc wines from the IWSC 2022. Although Argentina dominates with three out of the top eight spots, there are wines from South Africa, Mexico, Italy and China scoring highly.

And indeed, it’s Argentina taking top position. Rutini Single Vineyard Cabernet Franc 2019 achieved 97 points and a Gold medal. Judges praised it for its ‘fragrant’ nose, ‘great complexity’ and ‘long, elegant finish’.

Along with a score of 95 and a Gold medal, Monte Xanic Edición Limitada Cabernet Franc 2020 was chosen as one of the prestigious 2022 trophy winners. It was also the first time a still wine from Mexico has been awarded an IWSC trophy.

Four other wines – two from Argentina and two from South Africa – achieved a hugely impressive 95 points and Gold medals. With 92 points and a Silver medal, the ‘complex’ Villa Vignamaggio Cabernet Franc 2017 has a ‘concentrated palate’. And the ‘full bodied and concentrated’ Penglai LongTing Vineyard Reserve Cabernet Franc 2018 achieved 91 points and a Silver medal.

Discover the full list of the best Cabernet Franc, as judged by the IWSC 2022. 

cabernet franc

HOW DO WE JUDGE THESE WINES?

We run a tightly structured, rigorous wine tasting process. That means that each wine sample is pre-poured into numbered glasses and assessed blindly by the judges. Most importantly, our IWSC wine judges are experts in their field, who work across all sectors of the wine industry. For evidence, see our full list of judges.

HOW DO WE SCORE THESE WINES?

Only the best wines sampled receive a Gold or Silver award. For example, to win Gold, wines have to score between 95 and 100 points. Meanwhile, Silver wines range from 90 to 94 points. Click here to read more on our scoring system.

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