Petit Verdot vs Cabernet Franc

CharacteristicsPetit VerdotCabernet Franc
HueDeep purple to almost blackDeep ruby
AromasDark fruit, violet, herbalRed fruit, raspberry, currant,
bell pepper, tobacco
TanninsHighMedium to Medium Plus
AcidMedium plus to highMedium plus to high
Alcohol (%)14-15.5%13-15%
BodyFullMedium to Full
IntensityMedium plus to pronouncedMedium to Medium Plus
Key Growing RegionsFrance (Bordeaux), Spain, CaliforniaFrance (Bordeaux), California, Australia, Chile
Classic PairingsGrilled meats, game, hearty stews, aged cheesesStew, hard cheeses, rich dishes
Price Range$20-$50+$15-$50+

Petit Verdot vs Cabernet Franc is a great wine comparison because these two wines are different, but often blended together.

Petit Verdot and Cabernet Franc both have higher tannins and a firm structure. Cabernet Franc has a green note, and Petit Verdot has purple floral notes. Both are big wines.

TL;DR: If you enjoy Cabernet Franc, you’ll most likely like Petit Verdot wines, too.

Here’s what you need to know about Petit Verdot vs Cabernet Franc wines.

Petit Verdot Basics: A Robust Blending Grape

petit verdot wine profile infographic - petit verdot vs cabernet franc

Petit Verdot, originating from Bordeaux as well, provides a bold and robust experience. While historically used as a blending grape, Petit Verdot has gained recognition for its individual character.

Its flavor profile encompasses dark fruit, such as blackberry and plum, coupled with hints of spice and a touch of floral aromatics.

Fun Wine Fact: Petit Verdot, translating to “little green,” alludes to the late ripening of its small, thick-skinned berries.

Cabernet Franc Basics: Herbal Red

petit verdot vs cabernet franc - what's cabernet franc wine taste like infographic

Cabernet Franc, a parent grape of Cabernet Sauvignon, offers its own distinctive charm. Originating from the Loire Valley in France, Cabernet Franc is known for its medium body, vibrant acidity, and herbal complexity.

It showcases flavors of red fruits like raspberry and red currant, often accompanied by hints of bell pepper, tobacco, and violets. (Here’s a deep-dive into Cabernet Franc wines.)

Cabernet Franc has gained recognition beyond its French origins, with plantings found in regions such as California, Argentina, and Canada. It thrives in cooler climates and can produce elegant wines with a touch of Old World charm.

Fun Wine Fact: Cabernet Franc is one of the main grape varieties used in the production of Chinon wines in the Loire Valley.

Wine Comparison: Petit Verdot vs. Cabernet Franc

Here’s a quick side-by-side comparison of the most common styles of Petit Verdot and Cabernet Franc wine.

Cabernet Franc Wine Profile

  • Sweetness: Cabernet Franc wines lean towards dryness, offering a range of dry to off-dry styles.
  • Alcohol: Cabernet Franc wines typically have a moderate alcohol content, similar to Petit Verdot, ranging from around 13% to 14% ABV.
  • Body: Cabernet Franc is known for its medium body, providing a balanced and approachable drinking experience.
  • Tannins: Cabernet Franc usually has greener tannins, with a distinctive stemmy quality.
  • Acid: Cabernet Franc wines usually have medium plus to high acid.
  • Flavor and Aroma Intensity: Cabernet Franc showcases vibrant red fruit flavors, such as raspberry and red currant, with herbal nuances of bell pepper and tobacco.

Helpful Tip: Winemakers for both Petit Verdot and Cabernet Franc often use oak during winemaking. Here’s what oak contributes to wine.

Petit Verdot Wine Profile

  • Sweetness: Petit Verdot wines are dry.
  • Alcohol: Petit Verdot wines typically have a higher alcohol content, ranging from around 14% to 15.5% ABV.
  • Body: Petit Verdot is known for its full body and robust structure, similar to Cabernet Franc, maybe a little fuller.
  • Acid: Petit Verdot has medium plus acid, about the same as Cabernet Franc.
  • Tannins: Petit Verdot showcases firm and gripping tannins, adding to its powerful and bold character.
  • Flavors: The flavor profile often includes dark fruit notes like blackberry and plum, accompanied by hints of herbs and purple floral undertones.

Helpful Tip: Pop over to this 30-second tasting tip to learn how to taste wine tannins.

Are Petit Verdot and Cabernet Franc Similar?

Both Petit Verdot and Cabernet Franc wines are rich, higher tannin, fuller-bodied red wines. Both wines are often oaked, with mocha, coffee, and chocolate notes. They both have similar alcohol levels. Both are used to make Bordeaux blends. Petit Verdot adds color, floral notes, and a middle-palate mouthfeel. Cabernet Franc red fruit and herbs.

What Is the Difference Between Petit Verdot and Cabernet Franc?

Petit Verdot is deeper in color than Cabernet Franc. Cabernet Franc has a distinctive green note that it gets from the Sauvignon wine family (Sauvignon Blanc shares the same quality). Petit Verdot has lovely purple flower notes.

Petit Verdot vs Cabernet Franc: Food Pairings and Serving Temperature

petit verdot vs cabernet Franc pairing - steak

Petit Verdot and Cabernet Franc Food Pairing: Both of these wines have strong tannins and robust bodies that need to be paired with protein- and fat-rich dishes. Grilled and roasted meats, vegetables and hearty stews are what you will want to have with Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot.

Both Petit Verdot and Cabernet Franc are best enjoyed at slightly below room temperature. Place them in a cool, dark place for a while before serving.

Discover More:
Red Wine and Cheese Pairing: What You Need to Know
Cabernet Sauvignon vs Cabernet Franc

Which Is More Expensive: Petit Verdot vs Cabernet Franc?

Petit Verdot Cost

  • Entry-level Petit Verdot wines are a little more expensive than entry-level Cab Franc, around $20 to $30 per bottle. These wines provide a robust and flavorful experience at a reasonable cost.
  • On the premium side, Petit Verdot from boutique producers commands prices ranging from $35 to $50 or higher.

Cabernet Franc Cost

  • Entry-level Cabernet Franc wines fall within a similar price range, typically ranging from $15 to $25 per bottle. These wines provide an excellent introduction to the varietal’s unique characteristics.
  • Premium Cabernet Franc wines from distinguished appellations or limited-production offerings can have prices starting from $40 and reaching upwards of $100.

Helpful Tip: Here’s how a bottle of wine gets priced. This post is a little nerdy, but it’s quite complicated and nuanced depending on where you are in the world and where you’re buying your wine.

Which Is Better Petit Verdot or Cabernet Franc?

If you enjoy bold, robust red wine with tannin and floral undertones, then Petit Verdot is the better wine. If you prefer a full-bodied wine with an herbaceous quality and green tannins, then stick with Cabernet Franc.

Personal Note: Neither of these wines are good red wines to start out with if you’re a newer red wine drinker. Try a Merlot or Pinot Noir as better red gateway wines.

Final Thoughts – Petit Verdot or Cabernet Franc?

Both Petit Verdot and Cabernet Franc are big red wines that you should know about if you enjoy this wine style.

I’m a believer in side-by-side tastings to tease out the different wine characteristics. A great way to get started with these two wines is to do a side-by-side comparison.

Grab 2 bottles of similarly priced Petit Verdot and Cabernet Franc. Invite over a few friends and enjoy an evening of swirling and sipping.

Helpful Tip: These are both food wines. Make sure you have something to eat along with them.

Thirsty for More?

As I’ve already said, I truly believe in doing side-by-side tastings to boost your wine knowledge. Here’s how to host your own wine tasting for beginners.

Check out this post on Cabernet Sauvignon vs Merlot, another popular red wine, along with Cabernet Sauvignon vs Malbec, and Shiraz vs Merlot.

You should be able to find delicious wines at every price point. Check out this post on how to find great wines under $50.

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