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  • Writer's pictureCulinary Cam

A South American Cabernet Franc with Italian Roots & A Simple Pasta #CabFrancDay

Today - December 4th - is a celebration of the Cabernet Franc grape. Thanks to Lori Budd of Exploring the Wine Glass, spearheading the event and introducing me to the variety years ago.

You can read more about my recent exploration of Cabernet Franc from the East Coast - New York and Virginia - in this post: Debunking an 'Unpairable Food' and 'Just a Blending Grape' with East Coast Pours. It took me years to grow into my appreciation for this underdog grape! But it was in 2020 that I discovered a Cabernet Franc from Uruguay. Read about that in my pairing of Honey-Lemon-Sesame Drizzled Plancha'd Veggies + Garzón 2018 Reserva Cabernet Franc for the 2020 #CabFrancDay.

And it was that South American Cabernet Franc that cemented my love of this grape.

While I did pour another Garzón this year, I wanted to share a Cabernet Franc from Brazil. I got my hands on a bottle of 2018 Familia Salton Intenso Cabernet Franc. The Salton family story begins in Italy, in 1878, when Antonio Domenico Salton left the town of Cison di Valmarino, in the Veneto region, in search of better opportunities in Brazil. Salton settled in the Italian colony of Vila Isabel, known today as Bento Gonçalves, in Rio Grande do Sul state.

Like most Italian immigrants, Antonio made wine informally - for his own consumption. But in 1910, his sons - Paulo, Angelo, João, José, Cesar, Luis and Antonio - established the company and began cultivating grapes and producing wine. This wine poured a deep garnet color with fleck of purple on the rim. Aromas of black and red fruit abound though there were also pronounced floral and herbaceous notes. On the palate the wine had a balanced acidity, firm tannins, and a fruity finish.

To honor the estate's Italian roots, I paired the wine with a simple pasta. I tossed semi-dried cherry tomatoes and jarred artichoke hearts into spaghetti with a few glugs of smoked olive oil and a sprinkle of fresh cracked black pepper and a pinch of sea salt. Simple, but delicious.

I will be sharing another Garzón pairing before the end of the week...not in time for National Cabernet Franc Day. But call it bonus inspiration. Stay tuned!

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