2019 Nicolas Réau 'Ange' Cabernet Franc
Region: Anjou < Loire Valley < France
Grapes: Chenin Blanc
Vineyard/cellar stats: Certified organic, biodynamic farming; clay and limestone soils; fermentation in half oak foudre and half concrete, then aged on the lees for 6 months in oak and concrete; bottled unfined, unfiltered with no added SO2; zero-zero; 13% ABV
Winemaker: Nicolas Réau
The Loire Valley is the epicenter of France's natural wine movement, and Nicolas Réau, along with his wine writer and winegrower wife, Sylvie Augereau, are core members of this forward-thinking crew. Interning at his grandfather's farm growing up, he learned the art of agriculture from an early age, acquiring along the way a curiosity about wine, perhaps from his grandpa's tendency to sneak small glasses of red wine to his grandson when grandma wasn't looking. Despite this early exposure to wine, Nicolas didn't immediately pursue winemaking -- first, he was a pianist. In 1998 he pivoted, attending oenology school and taking over the family's 28 ha. estate, which he quickly converted to organic farming with biodynamic techniques.
The grapes for this bottling come from a 1.8 hectare single vineyard of the youngest Cab Franc vines, and it gets zero additions of any kind, because Nicolas says, “natural carbonic gas from fermentation replaces the sulfur”. And he calls it Ange after his young son - hence the cute childlike art on the label.
The color is dark and inky purple, and the nose is all Cab Franc: grilled peppers, forest floor, spice. But the palate, while deep, is more herbaceous and juicy than green, with blackberry and red currant balancing the roasted poblano, chocolate and tangy acidity on the zippy finish. A super soulful winter red that will surprise with how easy and drinkable it is.