Light, and juicy, not acidic, drinks a bit like a dry rose. It smells like a bag of jolly ranchers and it's the perfect first sip of the day.
Cofermented Vidal and Cabernet Franc, with Ripasso Merlot Skins
25% Cabernet Franc
Around 11.5% Alcohol
Leading into harvest, we build a general framework or game plan of what we would like to make. The conversation last year was centered around creating a red wine style that fits into our natural/raw wine portfolio. Our initial idea was to do a carbonic maceration style red (think Beaujolais nouveau), but we decided it would compete with our pet-nat release. The timing is about the same, and frankly, that is enough of a time crunch). I have also made carbonic wines before, and part of the deal is we try to push the limits of our knowledge and see what happens; making another one was not going to do it for me. It was at this time that I stumbled on Clarete. That is where we co-ferment white and red grapes to make lighter, more approachable reds. Cool. Problem solved.
We weren't too sure if that would hit our Glou Glou target. We wanted to make something that is just juice and makes us want to Glug Glug (the English translation of the very traditional French term Glou Glou). We had some ideas, but we still were not sure. We also had no idea what fruit we were going to use, and the harvest was very random. Some things showed up, some things didn't, some things showed up when they weren't supposed to, some things showed up as a surprise, and some things showed up that we weren't expecting at all. But in all the chaos, we did what we do best. We improvised.
If I were to choose a single nexus where our planning started to slide into the unpredictable, it would be with our Pet-Nat Red (generally around the third or fourth wine on the schedule). The harvest order began to shuffle, and some crops that harvest early were coming in late, and some things that are generally later started to come in early. It was then that one of our growers decided to harvest their Vidal super early (it was ripe, but a month too soon). We did not have a plan for what to do with it, so we decided to press it off and add the Vidal juice to some Pinot Noir and Gamay Noir that was fermenting. I felt confident the extra juice wouldn't dilute the colour so much that we couldn't present it as a Red Pet-Nat, but we had no idea. I was just trying not to waste 1,000 L of juice on something we knew we didn't want (life gives you lemons, make lemonade). As the wine continued to ferment, we were amazed at the extraction. It was delicious and intense. We had already decided we wanted to turn it into a pet-nat, but it gave us an idea.
As harvest progressed, we flushed out our game plan for how to make our Glou Glou. We would take a bin of Cabernet Franc, split it between three separate bin's and top it up with Vidal juice from another vineyard. So, that's what we did. Then it got cold (and we do 90% of our ferments outdoors). During fermentation, when a wine gets too cold, it doesn't ferment. It also doesn't extact any colour from the skins. It just sits there and makes me nervous (because it can spoil). In the meantime, we had pressed off some Merlot. We felt like there was a lot of colour left in the skins and because the Merlot had a really healthy fermentation, I was confident that there was an active and healthy yeast culture there to give the Glou Glou a kick start. So we decided to do a ripaso with the Merlot skins and throw them into the mix.
We let the wine macerate for awhile and ferment away. It was a slow and unsteady fermentation. It actually just finished fermenting a couple of weeks ago. It has gone through a bit of an evolutionary circle. It started out fruity and fun, got really weird, and now it is fruity and fun again. I do not know if this wine is repeatable (we will try), but it is definitely Glug Glug.