Blend in too well and people might not take you seriously as an individual. True in life, even truer for grapes, and thus cabernet franc has got a bum rap. This slightly lighter, slightly brighter relative (some say it’s actually a forerunner) to cabernet sauvignon got pushed aside by the burlier Bordeaux varietal that became everyone’s favorite collector’s item. Cab franc’s versions, called Chinon and Saumur, from France’s Loire Valley, are just starting to get some more cache stateside; they’re food-friendly at an even friendlier price, and hip sommeliers are adding them to restaurant wine lists. But the grape is grown in the U.S., too, not just for blending, but as its own delicious bottling: Rick Longoria’s flagship Blues Cuvee has been rooted in the fruity, deep delights of cab franc for years, now. If you want to see what the fuss is about franc, plan to attend FrancFest at the Buttonwood Farm and Vineyard on Saturday, September 20, noon-4 p.m. Many of Santa Barbara County’s best cab franc producers will let you sample this lovely red, and there’ll be a small barbecue, not just to feed you but to stress how well the wine goes with grilled meats. For info and tickets, call 688-3032.