54 Shades of Cab Franc: A Tasting Spectacle Like Never Before!

54 Shades of Cab Franc: A Tasting Spectacle Like Never Before!

On November 4, 2023, Carl's Wine Club embarked on a unique and exhilarating adventure—tasting 54 Canadian Cabernet Francs in a single session!

The entire experience was live-streamed, offering viewers an unprecedented peek into the intricate world of these exceptional wines and the world of wine scoring and reviewing. The tasting, lasting an impressive four hours and 37 minutes, was a testament to the dedication and passion for Canadian Cab Francs both amongst our members who tuned in, and amongst the many wineries featured.

Average Cab Franc Bottle Price: $42.67 including tax.

The combined value of the 54 bottles reached an impressive $2304.39, with an average cost of $42.67 per bottle, including tax. This collection showcased the richness and diversity of Canadian Cab Francs, highlighting the craftsmanship and terroir that contribute to each bottle's unique character.

Opening 54 bottles of Cab Franc, many sealed with traditional corks, was no small feat in itself! The bottles were tasted in order of price point, with the least expensive going first, and the highest price points tasted at the end, having had a chance to breathe for several hours.

corks from cab franc varietal marathon carl's wine club

A special thank you to the following winemakers who joined us live:

Mark Simpson | Mythology Vineyard, Osoyoos, BC

Mitch McCurdy | Marynissen Estates Winery, Niagara-on-the-Lake, ON

Ryan DeWitt | RUST Wine Co, Oliver, BC

One of the highlights was tasting the 214 and 327 Clones for Cab Franc from the Vineland Bo Teek Vineyard, sent by Mr. Cab Franc himself, winemaker Brian Schmidt. We were able to taste both of these clones in their latest releases, side by side barrel samples of the upcoming release. 

We can conclude that Cab Franc is indeed a signature grape varietal that both BC and Ontario can produce at a world class level, at price points ranging from $15.95-$80 including tax per bottle, with a great diversity of styles and flavour profiles.

There's absolutely a Canadian Cab Franc for everyone.

For those who missed the live-streamed tasting, the full event is available for viewing on Carl's Cellar's YouTube channel here. Witness the enthusiasm, insightful commentary, and the joy of discovering new favorites with Carl.

Among the extensive lineup, Carl discovered and curated a list of his Top 10 Canadian Cab Francs right now. These exceptional wines stood out for their quality, complexity, and overall sensory experience:

Carl's Top 10 Cab Francs

  1. Stonebridge 2019 Reserve Cab Franc

    • Appellation: VQA Twenty Mile Bench, ON
    • Points: 94
    • Price: $65.00
    • Case Production: 415 cases
    • Notes: Wild ferment in French oak for 19 months (30% New). 
    • Carl's Quick Notes: The structure of this wine is astonishing, built for decades of cellaring. Lots of tobacco, red pepper jelly, blackberry, dark cherry, and very long finish! A subtle wine with good concentration and terrific length.
  2. Bella Terra 2020 Cab Franc

    • Appellation: VQA Four Mile Creek, ON
    • Points: 94
    • Price: $44.95
    • Notes: 20 months in French oak. 
    • Carl's Quick Notes: "The texture of this wine is absolutely incredible: soft, smooth, creamy, and feels like satin in my mouth. Very unique and special, just like the 2020 vintage conditions. The nose offers black cherry, red currant, raspberry, dark chocolate and roasted red pepper. The palate is rich, suave, long and complex and displays some of the very best attributes of the Cab Franc grape varietal: dark cherry, blackberry, red plum, black forest cake and chili pepper. The tannins are luxurious and velvety at the highest level, leading to a never-ending finish. (CWC, 09/10/22)."
  3. Big Head 2018 Cab Franc

    • Appellation: VQA Niagara Peninsula, ON
    • Points: 93
    • Price: $45.00
    • Notes: Fermentation lasted 8 months. Aged for 32 months in a combination of 2nd fill French oak barrels and new Moldovan oak barrels. 
    • Carl's Quick Notes: Big, bold, rich, but everything is in synch. This is stunning, and really classic 'Cab Franc.'
  4. Painted Rock 2021 Cab Franc

    • Appellation: VQA Skaha Bench, BC
    • Points: 92+
    • Price: $63.34
    • Notes: French oak for 18 months (30% new). 
    • Carl's Quick Notes: Young and just released, but absolutely spectacular. This wine will age for at least a decade. Tight, compact, but somehow also freshness and finesse.
  5. Fort Berens 2020 Reserve Cab Franc

    • Appellation: VQA Lillooet, BC
    • Points: 92
    • Price: $51.84
    • Case Production: 186 cases
    • Notes: French oak for 15 months (50% new). This wine also won Platinum, BC Lieutenant Governor Awards; 91pts Decanter World; Silver, National WineAlign.
    • Carl's Quick Notes: Dark, inky, tightly wound, herbaceous, dark berries, and a hint of spice on the back end.
  6. Vineland 2020 Bo-Teek Clone 327

    • Appellation: VQA Twenty Mile Bench, ON
    • Points: 92
    • Price: $35.00
    • Notes: Pre-Release. 
    • Carl's Quick Notes: Wow. 327 just makes you feel like you're transported inside the grape. The structure is outstanding. Black forest cake, with whipped cream and chocolate. I love this one!
  7. Big Head 2020 Raw Cab Franc

    • Appellation: VQA Lincoln Lakeshore, ON
    • Points: 92
    • Price: $70.00
    • Notes: Fermented and aged 20 months in concrete. 
    • Carl's Quick Notes: Very fruity, raspberry, ripe strawberry, raspberry pie, pie crust, and beautiful fluffy texture. The wine hangs there with bright acid.
  8. Cave Spring 2020 Estate Cab Franc

    • Appellation: VQA Beamsville Bench, ON
    • Points: 92
    • Price: $39.95
    • Case Production: 480 cases
    • Notes: French oak for 20 months (second, third, neutral).
    • Carl's Quick Notes: Bold, big, rich, spicy, dark cherries and cherry liquor. Textbook 2020 Niagara Vintage of the Century.
  9. River Stone 2017 Cab Franc

    • Appellation: VQA Okanagan Valley, BC
    • Points: 92
    • Price: $59.89
    • Case Production: 145 cases
    • Notes: French oak for 14 months (33% new). 
    • Carl's Quick Notes: Soft on the nose, with whipped cream and strawberry shortcake. Elegant, delicate, and mineral. This wine has arrived and will likely stay at its peak for another 18-24 months.
  10. Da Silva 2020 Avila Family Vineyard Cab Franc

    • Appellation: VQA Okanagan Valley, BC
    • Points: 92
    • Price: $55.30
    • Case Production: 176 cases
    • Notes: 50% French, 50% American oak for 20 months. 
    • Carl's Quick Notes: This wine is made for the future. Tight, grippy, lots of spice and chocolate. This wine needed projection, and I'm excited at the prospects with age - I would wait two more years at least before enjoying if you can.

>>> A limited-time offer for Cab Franc enthusiasts!

Mythology Vineyard is providing access to a rare vertical of Cab Franc. Don't miss this exclusive opportunity to delve into the nuanced evolution of this exceptional wine. Supplies are limited, so secure yours now! Click here to see the vertical and order yours.

in person cab franc re tasting november 5 2023 carl's wine club

Following the live-streamed tasting event, members local to the Okanagan (and those travelling in the area) gathered again on November 5 for an in-person tasting of these 54 wines. What a way to discover the world of Canadian Cabernet Francs!

Cheers to exploration, discovery, and the joy of sharing exceptional wines with fellow enthusiasts, including Sam Hauck, the Wine Teacher, who graciously shares his experience on the MyVanCity blog here.

And a great big THANK YOU to all the wineries who provided samples for this EPIC Cab Franc tasting marathon!

Here's the full list of what we tasted, in order of price-point: 

  1. 2022 Vineland Cab Franc

    • Appellation: VQA Niagara Peninsula
    • Province: ON
    • All in Pricing: $15.95
  2. 2018 Casa-Dea Cab Franc

    • Appellation: VQA Prince Edward County
    • Province: ON
    • All in Pricing: $19.95
  3. 2021 Bella Terra Calm the Franc Down

    • Appellation: VQA Niagara-on-the-Lake
    • Province: ON
    • All in Pricing: $24.95
  4. 2017 Casa-Dea Cab Franc Reserve

    • Appellation: VQA Prince Edward County
    • Province: ON
    • All in Pricing: $26.95
  5. 2020 Reif Estate Winery Cab Franc Reserve

    • Appellation: VQA Niagara River
    • Province: ON
    • All in Pricing: $30.00
  6. 2019 Icellars Wismer Foxcroft Cab Franc

    • Appellation: VQA Twenty Mile Bench
    • Province: ON
    • All in Pricing: $30.97
  7. 2019 Mythology Cab Franc

    • Appellation: VQA Okanagan Valley
    • Province: BC
    • All in Pricing: $32.30
  8. 2020 Good Earth Food & Wine Co Cab Franc

    • Appellation: VQA Lincoln Lakeshore
    • Province: ON
    • All in Pricing: $34.00
  9. 2022 Rust Lost Horn Vineyard Cab Franc

    • Appellation: VQA Okanagan Falls
    • Province: BC
    • All in Pricing: $34.60
  10. 2021 Hester Creek Old Vines Cab Franc

    • Appellation: VQA Golden Mile Bench
    • Province: BC
    • All in Pricing: $34.60
  11. 2019 Lakeside Desert Valley Vineyard Cab Franc

    • Appellation: VQA Golden Mile Bench
    • Province: BC
    • All in Pricing: $30.00
  12. 2017 Organized Crime Cab Franc

    • Appellation: VQA Beamsville Bench
    • Province: ON
    • All in Pricing: $34.95
  13. 2019 Heaven's Gate Cab Franc

    • Appellation: VQA Okanagan Valley
    • Province: BC
    • All in Pricing: $34.99
  14. 2019 Black Bank Hill Cab Franc

    • Appellation: VQA Twenty Mile Bench
    • Province: ON
    • All in Pricing: $35.00
  15. 2022 Vineland Bo-Teek Clone 327

    • Appellation: VQA Twenty Mile Bench
    • Province: ON
    • All in Pricing: $35.00
  16. 2022 Vineland Bo-Teek Clone 214

    • Appellation: VQA Twenty Mile Bench
    • Province: ON
    • All in Pricing: $35.00
  17. 2020 Vineland Bo-Teek Clone 327

    • Appellation: VQA Twenty Mile Bench
    • Province: ON
    • All in Pricing: $35.00
  18. 2020 Vineland Bo-Teek Clone 214

    • Appellation: VQA Twenty Mile Bench
    • Province: ON
    • All in Pricing: $35.00
  19. 2018 Fogolar Oppenlander Vineyard Cab Franc

    • Appellation: VQA Four Mile Creek
    • Province: ON
    • All in Pricing: $36.95
  20. 2021 Lailey Cab Franc Rose

    • Appellation: VQA Niagara River
    • Province: ON
    • All in Pricing: $37.00
  21. 2021 Desert Hills Cab Franc

    • Appellation: Black Sage Bench
    • Province: BC
    • All in Pricing: $39.20
  22. 2020 Cave Spring Estate Cab Franc

    • Appellation: VQA Beamsville Bench
    • Province: ON
    • All in Pricing: $39.95
  23. 2018 Fogolar Picone Vineyard Cab Franc

    • Appellation: VQA Vinemount Ridge
    • Province: ON
    • All in Pricing: $39.95
  24. 2020 Drea's Wine Cab Franc

    • Appellation: VQA Niagara Peninsula
    • Province: ON
    • All in Pricing: $40.00
  25. 2020 2027 Cellars King Street Vineyard Cab Franc

    • Appellation: VQA Twenty Mile Bench
    • Province: ON
    • All in Pricing: $40.00
  26. 2015 Intersection Unfiltered Cab Franc

    • Appellation: VQA Okanagan Valley
    • Province: BC
    • All in Pricing: $40.00
  27. 2020 Tightrope Thomas Vineyard Cab Franc

    • Appellation: VQA Naramata Bench
    • All in Pricing: $40.35
  28. 2020 Summerhill Pyramid Organic Cab Franc

    • Appellation: VQA Okanagan Valley
    • Province: BC
    • All in Pricing: $41.50
  29. 2021 Burrowing Owl Cab Franc

    • Appellation: VQA Okanagan Valley
    • Province: BC
    • All in Pricing: $41.50
  30. 2021 Moraine Cab Franc

    • Appellation: VQA Naramata Bench
    • Province: BC
    • All in Pricing: $42.65
  31. 2020 Organized Crime Sacred Series Cab Franc

    • Appellation: VQA Beamsville Bench
    • Province: ON
    • All in Pricing: $43.00
  32. 2019 Church & State Cab Franc

    • Appellation: VQA Okanagan Valley
    • Province: BC
    • All in Pricing: $43.78
  33. 2021 Riverstone Cab Franc

    • Appellation: VQA Okanagan Valley
    • Province: BC
    • All in Pricing: $44.95
  34. 2021 Black Market Unsanctionned Cab Franc

    • Appellation: VQA Okanagan Valley
    • Province: BC
    • All in Pricing: $44.95
  35. 2020 Bella Terra Cab Franc

    • Appellation: VQA Four Mile Creek
    • Province: ON
    • All in Pricing: $44.95
  36. 2017 Sue-Ann Staff The Chestnut Tree Cab Franc

    • Appellation: VQA Niagara Peninsula
    • Province: ON
    • All in Pricing: $44.95
  37. 2019 Marynissen Platinum Series Cab Franc

    • Appellation: VQA Niagara Peninsula
    • Province: ON
    • All in Pricing: $44.95
  38. 2019 Leaning Post Cab Franc

    • Appellation: VQA Twenty Mile Bench
    • Province: ON
    • All in Pricing: $45.00
  39. 2018 Big Head Cab Franc

    • Appellation: VQA Niagara Peninsula
    • Province: ON
    • All in Pricing: $45.00
  40. 2021 Vasanti Cab Franc

    • Appellation: VQA Okanagan Valley
    • Province: BC
    • All in Pricing: $46.09
  41. 2018 Hillside Heritage series Cab Franc

    • Appellation: VQA Naramata Bench
    • Province: BC
    • All in Pricing: $46.10
  42. 2021 Maverick Cab Franc

    • Appellation: VQA Okanagan Valley
    • Province: BC
    • All in Pricing: $46.10
  43. 2019 Stonebridge Cab Franc

    • Appellation: VQA Creekshores
    • Province: ON
    • All in Pricing: $48.00
  44. 2015 Cave Spring Estate Cab Franc

    • Appellation: VQA Beamsville Bench
    • Province: ON
    • All in Pricing: $39.95
  45. 2020 2027 Cellars Wismer Foxcroft Cab Franc

    • Appellation: VQA Twenty Mile Bench
    • Province: ON
    • All in Pricing: $50.00
  46. 2020 Fort Berens Reserve Cab Franc

    • Appellation: VQA Lillooet
    • Province: BC
    • All in Pricing: $51.84
  47. 2020 Da Silva Avila Family Vineyard Cab Franc

    • Appellation: VQA Okanagan Valley
    • Province: BC
    • All in Pricing: $55.30
  48. 2017 Riverstone Cab Franc

    • Appellation: VQA Okanagan Valley
    • Province: BC
    • All in Pricing: $59.89
  49. 2021 Painted Rock Cab Franc

    • Appellation: VQA Skaha Bench
    • Province: BC
    • All in Pricing: $63.34
  50. 2020 Ferox Cab Franc Silver Lion Collection

    • Appellation: VQA Niagara Lakeshore
    • Province: ON
    • All in Pricing: $65.00
  1. 2019 Stonebridge Reserve Cab Franc

    • Appellation: VQA Twenty Mile Bench
    • Province: ON
    • All in Pricing: $65.00
  2. 2020 Big Head Raw Cab Franc

    • Appellation: VQA Lincoln Lakeshore
    • Province: ON
    • All in Pricing: $70.00
  3. 2020 Stonebridge Reserve Cab Franc

    • Appellation: VQA Creekshores
    • Province: ON
    • All in Pricing: $78.00
  4. 2020 De Simone Cab Franc

    • Appellation: VQA Niagara-on-the-Lake
    • Province: ON
    • All in Pricing: $80.00
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