July 5, 2020
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Cabernet Franc and Spaghetti Squash with Pesto and Grapes

By: Jeff James
September 21, 2018

As the days get shorter and the season’s bounty of fall vegetables are adorning our local store shelves, this month’s Spaghetti Squash recipe is ideal for pairing with a robust red wine. Football season has started, students are back on their campuses and we are getting ready to harvest our grapes… indeed, Fall is in the air! Cabernet Franc and baked squash will warm the stomachs and the hearts of your guests as you turn the page on another season.

Cabernet Franc is a grape varietal which has customarily been blended with others, most notably into Red Bordeaux wine in France. It has been gaining popularity on its own as more wineries are producing bottlings made exclusively with this versatile grape. A bit lighter-bodied and less tannic than its headlining Bordeaux blending partner, Cabernet Sauvignon, wines made with Cabernet Franc alone typically exhibit lovely fruit flavors and can pair well with a wide variety of foods. You can expect berry, plum and cherry flavors often framed with notes of leather, black tea and spice.

Some of the very finest examples of Cabernet Franc grapes are grown right here in Northern California and there has been a mounting willingness by our local winemakers to produce the wine as a stand-alone varietal. As more excellent offerings are produced, I hope more and more wineries will add Cab Franc to their lineups.

Cabernet Franc matches very well with this month’s Spaghetti Squash recipe for a number of reasons. The wine has enough heft to stand up to the walnuts, parmesan cheese and garlic, while its acid will add to the appeal of the cannellini beans. Additionally, the fruit flavors in the wine enhance the natural flavors and sweetness of the grapes and the herbal notes meld nicely with the basil and arugula in the pesto.

So whether you are making a hearty meal to help the kids get through their homework or are having the gang over to watch the game, fire up the oven and crack open a bottle of local, world-class Cabernet Franc and explore a delicious and winning combination. Cheers!

Jeff James is the founder and co-owner, with his wife Judy, of Stony Point Vineyard and James Family Cellars. Their Cotati vineyard and winery have consistently produced award-winning wines. Jeff can be reached at or