|Once thought of as Virginia's signature grape, Cabernet Franc seems to be reverting back to its historical role as a blending grape|
Below are some of the responses I received. Thank you to everybody who added their comments and insight to this question.
"Cab Franc is certainly an important red in Virginia, and the most dominate red by acreage and tonnage in Virginia...I would argue Petit Verdot has more of a future in Virginia than Cab Franc for several reasons. At least to equal as the other primary flagship red varietal.
"I don't think its loosing its luster but rather settling into its place. I think it produces a certain style wine in Virginia, which is great. Sort of becoming our Pinot Noir in body, style, and finesse whereas a varietal like Tannat has the weight, structure, tannins, and age ability to produce a heavy Napa Cab like wine...rather than anointing a king, its a sign of an emerging wine region to appreciate different wines at different times."
Paradise Springs Winery
|Once the cool kid's table, these Cab Francs have growing competition from within the Virginia wine community|
"I do not think Cabernet Franc has lost its luster. It’s just sharing the stage. What you’re seeing are vintners and marketers doing their part to create better name recognition for other varieties. This in turn drives consumer demand for those varieties. This is similar to how Cabernet Franc, one of the region’s work-horse varieties, became such a household name.
"We are clearly moving to red blends as being the prime red wines produced in Virginia. I think the trend away from varietals to blended wines is nationwide. So in that sense, Virginia is part of the trend. 2011 is the vintage when the wisdom of blending really hit home for many Virginia winemakers. While I think Virginia makes better Merlot than Cab Franc on average. Cab Franc as a single varietal was more unique nationwide, and therefore more noticeable. There is a lot more Merlot to compete against for recognition than Cab Franc. Some are touting Tannat or Petit Verdot as potential varietals for Virginia to achieve fame with, but those are harder to sell in the marketplace too."
|Lonely Cabernet Franc grapes will wait outside of wine judge's windows in the rain with a boombox over their head if it comes to that. And if they had arms.|