I have always loved underdogs. Underdogs never settle.  They have a strong desire to show that there is more to them than meets the eye. Underdogs come out of nowhere to shock the world and do not take anything for granted. 

The Underdog Story

Even as a child, all of my favorite shows featured underdogs. Wile E Coyote and RoadRunnerThe Road Runner… underdog. That darn Wile E. Coyote kept trying to catch him and make him dinner. The Road Runner just loved running. He would beep beep and be happy. The coyote, although higher on the food chain and armed with whatever was the newest Acme creation, still could not beat the Roadrunner. 

underdog cartoon And let’s not forget the literal underdog… UNDERDOG!  “There’s no need to fear, Underdog is here.” Come on.. the humble and lovable Shoeshine Boy that everyone overlooks and takes advantage of is truly a superhero! It doesn’t get any better than that!  “Look in the sky!” “It’s a plane!” “It’s a bird!” “It’s a frog!” As underdog would fly over head he would rhyme. “Not plane, nor bird, nor even frog, it’s just little old me… heh-heh-heh- Underdog! The series itself ended before I was born, but I watched those reruns with such fervor. No matter what  Simon Bar Sinister or Riff Raff did to try to harm Polly Purebred, Underdog was there to save the day! 

If we want to leave the cartoon world and look to real life underdogs, I don’t think there Rudy movie imageis a bigger underdog persona than Rudy!  I am pretty sure everyone has seen this movie at least 100 times. If you haven’t you are missing out.  Even though Mike Golic, who was on the team at that time has stated there was quite a bit of literary license in the story line.. it is a phenomenal movie. One that shows how an underdog that keeps getting beat down, gets up over and over again to finally see their moment in the spotlight. 

BUT, if we are talking about the true underdog of the wine world, there is no greater one than Cabernet Franc. Cabernet Franc has gotten around quite a bit and is responsible for so many of the grape varieties that oenophiles rant and rave about, but for some reason it doesn’t seem to get its just due. 

The Origin Story 

Cabernet Franc, whose origins seem to lie in Basque country in the western Pyrenees has many blood relatives including Cabernet Sauvignon, Carménère, Gros Cabernet, Merlot, Merlot Blanc, Morenoa and Hondarribi Beltza.  Some of these varieties are a bit more common than others. The most known relationship is the natural crossing between Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc to give us the ever so popular Cabernet Sauvignon. If you would like to listen to the Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc love story, click here!

Two of the more uncommon relatives are Hondarrabi Beltza Morenoa. Hondarrabi Beltza is a main dark-skinned variety, like Cabernet Franc is found in the Basque region of Spain, where it actually is the only place it is grown. It is used to make Txakoli (pronounced Chac-o-lee) wines in both red and rosé (rosado) styles. If you can find one, you should expect a wine that should be consumed young and has high acidity and a light body. Morenoa is a red grape variety thought to have come from France, but unfortunately is thought to be extinct or only growing in tiny quantities in non traditional vineyards. 

Let’s take a look at this family tree. Because it gets a little tricky. 

Cabernet Franc crossed with two different unknown grape varieties and gave us Morenoa and Hondarribi Beltza.  There are some ampelographers who believe that this relationship is actually reversed and that Morenoa and Hondarribi Beltza crossed to give us Cabernet Franc. 

As if that is not confusing enough, here we go with some family relationships that in all honesty would be illegal if we were talking humans, but it is intriguing!  Hondarribi Beltza crossed with Fer to produce Gros Cabernet and THEN Cabernet Franc crossed with Gros Cabernet (technically its grandchild) to give us Carmenere.

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So if we try to put this into a family tree – Merlot, Carmenere and Cabernet Sauvignon are all half siblings. Gros Cabernet is, at the same time, the mate and grand-offspring of Cabernet Franc. Which means that Carmenere is, at the same time, the offspring and great grand-offspring of Cabernet Franc. (whew!)

We all have the one side of the family that dances to their own music and that, my friends, is that side of the family. Because the Merlot side is so much easier! Very simply, (and not so scandalous) Cabernet Franc crossed with Magdeleine Noire des Charentes to give us Merlot.

courtesy of: Wine Grapes: A Complete Guide to 1,368 Vine Varieties; Robinson, Harding, Vouillamoz (2012)

The #WinePW Story

December 4th is #CabFrancDay. I created the holiday in 2015 and have called myself the Cab Franc Champion since I have been dedicated to proving to the world that Cabernet Franc is more than a blending grape.  This week, Wendy Klik of A Day in the Life on a Farm is hosting this month’s WinePW with a theme I absolutely love!!! Cabernet Franc Around the World Join us on Saturday December 12th at 8am PST on Twitter. We’ll be discussing some incredible Cab Franc pairings!

  • We decided to do a little shameless self promotion (why not?) for the post and we opened Dracaena Wines 2018 Classic and 2018 Reserve Plummer Vineyard Cabernet Franc. One of the incredible things about Cabernet Franc is that it pairs with so many different types of food. It can be enjoyed with vegetarian food as well as steak, game, veal, etc. It also can stand up to a foods with spices and a little bit of spice. (heat) It truly is an all around crowd pleaser. We chose to pair our Cabernet Francs with turkey burritos. The burritos have a hint of spice but are not spicy.  They contain classic Mexican spices without emitting any heat. There was plenty of savory and salty notes that paired well with our wine that is fruit forward, has plenty of acid and is not a tannic bomb. 

    Ground Turkey Burritos

    1 pound ground turkey
    1 16oz. can of refried beans
    1 medium onion, chopped
    1 4oz. jar diced jalapeños
    1 package McCormick Original Taco Seasoning Mix
    1 can 14 oz diced tomatoes (or we dice up fresh plum tomatoes)
    1 8 oz. package of Mexican blend cheese
    8 burrito size flour tortilla shells (can use corn if you prefer)
    1- In a large pan, add some oil to coat pan and cook ground turkey until brown and juice runs clear. Remove and set aside.
    2- Cook diced onions until translucent.
    3- In a small pot, warm the refried beans.
    4- Return cooked turkey to pan, add diced jalapeños, tomatoes, and seasoning mix. Stir until completely coated.
    5- Warm an individual tortilla shell in the microwave for 5 seconds. (this makes it easier to roll) Place a dollop of refried beans, some of the turkey mixture and a handful of cheese onto one side of the tortilla. Be sure not to go too close to the edges or you’ll have a blow out.
    6- Roll up the tortilla three quarters of the way, then tuck the two sides in and complete rolling.
    7- Use a small portion of the refried beans to help seal the burrito. Sprinkle a little more cheese on top.
    8- Bake in a 350o pre-heated oven for about 15 minutes. Just long enough to warm the burritos and melt the cheese.


    Our Story

    We always get asked where we got the name for our winery from. It is all about combining our two loves. Wine and weimaraners! Our original weimaraner was named Draco, after the constellation of dragons’ souls. When he passed, after 14 amazing years, we got a Draco tree as a memorial. The tree itself is pretty cool, it’s nickname is Dragon Blood because the sap bleeds red. Both Michael and I are scientists. So the name is an amalgamation of Draco and us being science dorks.  The scientific name for a Draco tree is Dracaena Draco. Our Draco stands tall in front of a Draco Tree.

    So mark you calendars, put the reminder in your phones to celebrate Cab Franc Day every December 4th every year! And while you are at it don’t forget to join us Saturday, December 12th at 8am PST for our monthly #WinePW Twitter chat! I hope to see you on the socials sharing your Cab Franc Love! Dracaena Wines was offering a special in honor of the day, but we have decided to extend it through December 12th, in honor of #WinePW.  Get a specially priced two pack by clicking here.  


    Dracaena Wines has received consistent 90+ ratings and multiple Double Gold medals. Click image to order yours today and let Dracaena Wines Turn Your Moments into Great Memories!

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  1. I’ve got ground turkey in my fridge: these burritos – and a glass of Cab Franc – are up next in my dinner rotation!

  2. I still have a couple of bottles of Dracaena in my wine fridge. I foresee these burrtios coming up on a nearby Mexican Monday or Taco Tuesday. Thanks Lori.

    1. AWW! Thank you.. Tonight I am using the left over ground turkey mix to make biscuit nests. I’m making homemade biscuits, put them in a muffin tin, and the turkey inside. So as the biscuits cook, they surround the turkey!

  3. I didn’t know about the Hondarribi Beltza connection to CF. That’s so interesting. I’m thrilled you have lead the charge to for #cabfranclove. And the turkey burrito paired with your Cab Franc looks and sounds great Lori! Cheers!

    1. thank you so much Martin. I just learned about the Hondarribi Beltza connection a few weeks ago. I love finding new things about my beloved Cab Franc!

  4. Thank you for championing Cab Franc and starting Cab Franc Day!
    Thank you also for the flashback to Saturday Morning Cartoons! (I loved Underdog and the Roadrunner)
    Lastly, that Cabernet Franc family tree! It’s fascinating and still incomplete. Linda spoke of Cab Franc as the grey-haired backup singer. I asked her to add sexy to that, and now I see that I was not wrong in that…Cab Franc would be a lady killer for sure!

  5. I have been wanting to try Cabernet Franc with Mexican cuisine and you just gave me another reason to go for it! And, I am long over due to try your Cabernet Franc!

    1. It is such a good pairing!! You definitely have to try it! And whenever you are ready, we are here! Slainte !

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