Cabernet Franc is usually used as the higher acid, lower tannin blending grape in Bordeaux-style blends. However, Americans do produce lovely, varietally labeled Cabernet Francs from Sonoma, Long Island and the Napa Valley that are stylistically reminiscent of the wines of Chinon (a red wine appellation in the Loire Valley) and St. Emilion. Cabernet Franc is purple in color, with violets and raspberries in the nose, bright berry fruit, green pepper and a leafy, tobacco-like wood shavings undertone.
California as a wine producing region has grown in size and importance considerably over the past couple of centuries, and today is the proud producer of more than ninety percent of the United States' wines. Indeed, if California was a country, it would be the fourth largest producer of wine in the world, with a vast range of vineyards covering almost half a million acres. The secret to California's success as a wine region has a lot to do with the high quality of its soils, and the fact that it has an extensive Pacific coastline which perfectly tempers the blazing sunshine it experiences all year round. The winds coming off the ocean cool the vines, and the natural valleys and mountainsides which make up most of the state's wine regions make for ideal areas in which to cultivate a variety of high quality grapes.