Quick Sip: Franciscan Estate 2008 Cuvee Sauvage

Hello Friends,

Today’s Quick Sip is the Franciscan Estate 2008 Cuvee Sauvage Chardonnay ($40) from Carneros [Napa Valley], California. The Carneros AVA spans both Napa and Sonoma counties and its relatively cool climate and long growing season is prime for varieties like Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Franciscan is one of the first Napa Valley wineries to produce a wild yeast fermented Chardonnay [1987]. The 2008 Cuvee Sauvage is 100% wild (native, indigenous, natural) yeast fermented. Those who favor native yeast fermentation believe it makes for a more complex wine (e.g. enhanced aroma, flavor, texture) and reflects the character of the vineyard terroir more accurately. On the flip side, many winemakers consider native yeast fermentation risky; as it can lead to sluggish and very slow fermentations, contribute undesirable characteristics (e.g. acetic acid), or can result in a stuck fermentation. Be it risky business or not, Franciscan has a good track record with their wild yeast fermented Chardonnay; so, let’s uncork this bottle and have a swirl, sniff, and sip.

Franciscan Estate 2008 Cuvee Sauvage

In the glass, the Franciscan Estate 2008 Cuvee Sauvage displays a straw-yellow color with inviting aromas of toasted nuts, spiced pear, toasty oak, abundant tree fruit character, honeysuckle, and delicate citrus and mineral notes. The aromas follow through to the palate with a mouth-coating, viscous texture, nice balancing acidity, and a long toasty finish. I enjoyed this wine on its own and later paired it with poached salmon topped with a caper butter sauce – a pairing that worked nicely. There's a fairly good amount of oak, but it's well integrated and frames the fruit nicely. Less than 1,500 cases of this wine was produced and I’ve seen the price point as low as $18 from various web sources. As a matter of fact, I’m shopping for another bottle as I wrap up this blog post to pair with a lobster dish I plan on making. Cheers!

Click here to visit the Franciscan Estates website.

Note: This wine was sent as a media-sample for review purposes. Have a question about this post, friends? Feel free to leave a comment or send me an e-mail at myvinespot@yahoo.com, and as always, Happy Sipping! Stay tuned ...more to come.

One last thing, to all my sipping readers, here are coupons for Kmart if you're looking for cheaper wine alternatives.

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