From Our Cellar

Nau Frères Bourgueil Vieilles Vignes 2014

About this wine

100% Cabernet Franc from vines 40-75 years old planted in clay, limestone and chalk soils on south facing volcanic ash formed hills. Yields are 30hl/ha. Fermentation is 3 weeks in large cement tanks with the caps punched by human feet.  

Top Bourgueil wines age magnificently. Abel Osorio poured their Vieilles Vignes from 1985 & 1993 for us. The ‘93 was very good. The ‘85 was one of the best wines we’ve tasted in recent memory and had plenty of life left.

About the grape

Cabernet Franc, an ancient variety, thrives in cooler climates because it ripens best slowly.  This allows its green, vegetal flavorings to be balanced and nuanced.  Green bell pepper is a frequent flavor descriptor of these wines.

Cabernet Franc tends to produce lighter, softer, more acidic and less tannic wines than Cabernet Sauvignon (the latter is an the offspring of the former crossed with Sauvignon Blanc).  The style of Cabernet Franc wines, which are made all over the world, can range from simple and easy drinking to dark, brooding and substantial.  The best can age for decades.

About the vintage (Domaine perspective)

2014 had a long growing season. The winter was mild and a dry March led to an early bud-break. The summer was wet but September was magnificent - sunny days sweetened the fruit and cool nights preserved acidity. A late Indian summer assured perfect maturity.  The harvest concluded October 10, one day before the start of prolonged, torrential rains.

The wines of 2014, reminiscent of the great 2005’s are delicate, rich and full-bodied.

Our tasting impressions

The color is quite dark. At four years old, the wine is inky and the fruit primary. An exotic nose is followed by deep, bright flavors on the palate. It is remarkably concentrated, very appetizing and demands contemplation.  A beautiful wine that can be enjoyed now but will evolve gracefully for 30 years+.  Try calculating the amortization of this price over 3 decades.

On your table

In its current state, we like Shish Kebab because the assertive flavor and fattiness of the lamb as well as the earthy vegetables nicely mirror the flavor in the wine.  Serve at cellar temp.

2014
Cabernet Franc
Domaine Nau Freres

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Domaine Nau Freres

The brothers Nau are (L-R in the photo) Patrice (manager and winemaker), his brother Bertrand and his brother-in-law, Abel. The latter two are semi-retired. They operate this 20 hectare domaine that produces about 40-50,000 bottles annually. The property that originally was a poly-farm now grows only grapes commercially.

All grapes are hand-harvested and de-stemmed.   They use gentle extraction known as jus de goutte (free-run wine as opposed to pressing). Vinification is done in large concrete tanks at a controlled temperature.

We seem to bump into family members all over this sprawling estate. They all are cheerful, gracious and hospitable. A few remnants of the old farm remain and we were offered fresh picked cherries after strolling through the vineyards.

This photo is from a few years back, but we couldn’t resist  It so wonderfully depicts the whimsical, good-natured, down-to-earth character of this family who seem to impart so much joy in their wines.  Don’t make the mistake though of thinking they aren’t serious about wine.  One taste and you will recognize they are world class.