2018 Savage Grace ‘Blanc Franc’ Red Willow Vineyard
Region: Yakima Valley < Washington
Grape: Cabernet France
Vineyard/Cellar Stats: Organic farming; whole cluster pressed and aged in stainless-steel tanks for six months; bottled without filtering and minimal added So2; 12% ABV
Winemaker: Michael Savage
We don't see a lot of natural wines from Washington state, and we have NEVER seen Cab Franc vinified white, so this is a Unicorn wine all around! It comes from a small, one-man winery started by Michael Savage in 2011 -- kind of on a whim. While working in music and software development, he signed up for the WSET (Wine & Spirits Education Trust) diploma course, for fun. But while preparing for the exam, he decided that instead of learning about it, he should probably just make it. So he started a project inspired by the wines he loved to drink -- light reds from the Loire Valley -- made his first wine that very same year. Talk about fast tracking it. He named his label after himself, ‘Savage’, which he says also represents the struggle of the grape, and the ‘Grace’ part is not only his wife's name but what he hopes to capture in bottle.
Michael makes mostly red wines, with a focus on his favorite grape, Cab Franc. Here he lets the juice sit with the skins for a few hours then presses off (instead of leaving it sit for days or weeks, as in a red wine), leaving the juice with just a kiss of skin contact, a pretty pink blush, and the spicy, peppery aromatics of Cab Franc. You totally taste that green pepperiness typical of this grape, but the citrus notes and zesty acidity prevail -- think lemon, lime and thyme. It's such a cool take on Cab Franc, with white wine acidity in the body of a lighter red. Chill it properly and wow your friends with this truly one-of-a-kind wine.