Guest Explorer: Higgo Jacobs

A law graduate from Stellenbosch, Higgo was lured into the wine industry after his studies, and what was meant to be a sabbatical ended up as a way of life.

Certified by the Court of Master Sommeliers, Higgo consults to various establishments; judges on wine competitions and publications locally and abroad, and tries his hand occasionally at writing.

Cabernet Franc has long been a dormant princess, with cult’ish followings for some of the more established single varietal bottlings for decades, but no real recognition for the category as one of SA’s best in single varietal form.

A fixed stalwart in plenty of our most heralded red (Bordeaux – esque) blends, Cab Franc (you can ask for it by this name, by the way) has shown its merit in Cape soil for decades, adding acid lift, perfume, and elegance to these blends. But the single varietal expression of the cultivar can be awesome (just ask Bruwer Raats, the Ratcliffes at Warwick, or the good people from Chinon in the Loire Valley, France) and recent new additions along with some established ones under new direction have catapulted the category into international acclaim. The amount of wines labeled as Cabernet Franc has increased dramatically, from only 17 in 2005 to 150+ today.

The holy grail lies in the wines that strike an effortless balance between fleshy red & blue fruit with the perhaps more historically familiar minty, herbal tones. The result, achieved by the list below, show food-friendly wines with perfume and elegance, yet structure and complexity. Saying that Cabernet Franc is one of the reds to watch over the next decade only just does justice to the brewing excitement. Look for wines from relatively cool sites from the Cape.

Buitenverwachting Limited Release

Chamonix Cabernet Franc

De Trafford Cabernet Franc

Eikendal Cabernet Franc

Gabrielskloof Landscape Series

Hannay Cabernet Franc

Hermanuspietersfo-ntein Swartskaap

Keermont Pondok Rug

Môreson Cabernet Franc

Mulderbosch Cabernet Franc

Raats Cabernet Franc

Rainbow's End Limited Release

Oldenburg Cabernet Franc

Van Loggerenberg Breton

Warwick Cabernet Franc

Book a Tailor-Made Cabernet Franc Tour

Get the ultimate inside track on all the best Cabernet Franc producers in the Western Cape with a tailor-made tour and a specialist wine guide.