2016 Nue Wilde Cabernet Franc, Dunnsden Vineyard
Region: Chalk Hill AVA < Sonoma < CA
Grapes: Cabernet FrancVineyard/Cellar Stats: Organic farming, volcanic chalk and goldridge soils; 25% whole cluster, carbonic fermentation; neutral barrel aging for 1 year then extended aging in stainless; bottled unfined/unfiltered with 20ppm added So2; 88 cases; 12.3% ABV
Winemaker: Ben Herod
Nue Wilde is the new(ish) project from our friend Ben, who's been making his own wine for nearly a decade while holding down a day job selling natty French and Italian wine for an importer. The exposure to great natural wine from all over gives him great perspective in making his own, with the philosophy that great wine is “grown,” not “made.” For Nue Wilde, he sources fruit from organic vineyards all over NorCal, and makes wine in an old-school, hands-off fashion. We've worked with many of Ben's bottlings, but he'd been holding on on this juicy Cab Franc with some age on it, which is absolutely ripping right now.
The fruit comes from the western edge of Sonoma's famous Chalk Hill AVA, a cooler growing climate that translates into more freshness in the wine. The partial carbonic treatment helps bring out the floral components, rather than emphasizing the green/peppery ones, of Cab Franc. And the extended aging in 100% neutral oak allows all of those fresh and bright flavors make it into the glass. As true to its varietal character as anything from Chinon or Saumur-Champigny, this wine delivers generous, lifted and crunchy red fruit in a light, juicy, low ABV package. An amazing value for a mature wine (from organic Chalk Hill fruit) of this precision and drinkabilty. Chill slightly (if that's you're thing) and enjoy as the weather turns and the leaves start to drop, as this bottle is perfect for the season and all the fall flavors.