From Our Cellar

Nau Frères Bourgueil Vieilles Vignes 2014

Cabernet Franc
Domaine Nau Frères

More Wines from Domaine Nau Frères


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+.  Several experienced wine folks did a blind tasting of this wine and the same vintage of the deeply respected Olga Raffault Chinon Les Picasses. The two went toe-to-toe for 10 rounds and the result was a decidedly split decision with everyone agreeing both are great.


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 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.


Patrice's view of the vintage

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.


On your table

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.  


Domaine Nau Frères

The brothers Nau are (L-R in the photo) Patrice (manager and winemaker), Bertrand and their brother-in-law, Abel. Abel and Bertrand are semi-retired. They operate this 20 hectare domaine that produces about 40,000 bottles annually. The property orginally was a poly-farm but 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 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.