Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc are both types of red wine grapes. Although the two grapes are similar both genetically and in terms of taste, Cabernet Sauvignon is by far the more popular, especially in America, where the wines dominate the consumer market.
Cabernet Franc wines are thinner, lighter and less acidic than Cabernet Sauvignons. They also may have a more herbal flavor, depending upon their cultivation. While Cabernet Sauvignon wines are lauded for their ability to age well, Cabernet Francs are best enjoyed young. Both wines share strong notes of fruit and spices.
Cabernet Franc is primarily grown in France, Italy, Eastern Europe and the United States. Its grapes thrive better in cool, rainy regions than Cabernet Sauvignon. Cabernet Sauvignon is planted worldwide, due to its popularity and hardiness.
Cabernet Franc is sometimes drunk on its own in France and Italy, but more frequently it is blended with other wines. The most famous Cabernet Franc blend is the Meritage blend, which is made up of Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot grapes. Cabernet Sauvignon is more often left to stand on its own, and many of the world's most celebrated wines have been made from this grape.
Both Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc wines may be enjoyed on their own or with a meal. These varietals are more popular during the fall and winter than in warmer months.
Cabernet Sauvignon is actually descended from Cabernet Franc. Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc are genetically the parents of Cabernet Sauvignon.