You probably have not heard of Blanc de Cab Franc. It is made in small quantities in the Loire Valley and now in Oregon. Leah Jørgensen decided to make Oregon’s first Blanc de Cabernet Franc back in 2011. Leah tells us how it happened.
How Blanc de Cab Franc came to Oregon
“I was working at Shea Wine Cellars as a cellar worker and I knew I wanted to get my little project started. So my friend Chris Berg who owns Roots Wine Company with his wife Hillary is like “Hey I can get you a little cab franc”. It was from Walla Walla. I was like “Yeah I just need 750 lbs. “ No problem. So I got this cab franc and I was like “I’m going to make a white cab franc” I had one from the Loire Valley.
I used to sell an incredible book of Loire Wines in Washington DC before I moved out here and one of my accounts was the French Embassy. Because embassies in DC can’t go through their own countries, they have to, like everybody else, go through distribution. So I had the Austrian Embassy, the New Zealand Embassy, the French Embassy, was that it? Anyways, so I remember was at a tasting there and I had a white cab franc from the Loire. They are very rare, there’s very very few producers over there that actually make a white cab franc. But it was always in the back of my mind. I also love the sparkling wines from the Loire Valley. And many of them if they are white they have a base of cab franc often blended with chenin blanc or chardonnay or they make a rosé and I love those base wines as well.
Here in the Willamette Valley, so many producers of pinot noir are taking that cue from Champagne and they are of course making wonderful sparkling wines. You’re seeing more and more wonderful sparkling wines come out here, but they are also making white pinot noir. So to me it made sense, I’m going to do America’s first white cab franc. So that’s what I did. That was 2011 and I had one barrel, it was an oak barrel. Now I use exclusively Acacia. So you get all kinds of the bell pepper, it’s more poblano to me.”
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