You may have heard of cabernet sauvignon, the famed red grape of Bordeaux. Few people, however, have heard of cabernet franc, which is one of the world’s main black grape varieties and is one of the parents of cabernet sauvignon.
It is grown widely in Bordeaux, where it works well as a blending component. But in the Loire valley it goes solo and makes some very fresh, sappy, bright red wines that I like a lot. So here is my selection from the Loire, alongside a few from Chile and Argentina.
Domaine de la Croix de Chaintres 2015, Saumur Champigny, France £12.79, Waitrose, 13% alcohol
This chalky and grainy Loire wine with rounded raspberry and cherry fruit, is smooth in the mouth and has a real liveliness.
Charles Joguet Cuvée Terroir Chinon 2011, France£13.95, tanners-wines.co.uk (01743 234455), 12.5% alcohol
Joguet is one of the famous names of the Chinon region and this bottle is nicely dense and fresh with a green herb edge to the bright raspberry and cherry fruit. It also has an attractive savoury twist.
Domaine de Rosette Chinon 2014, France £9.49, Marks & Spencer, 13% alcohol
Gravelly blackcurrant with vivid raspberry and cherry make for a chalky, spicy red with a pleasant grip and hints of spice.