2012 Franciscan Estate Cuvee Sauvage Chardonnay Carneros Napa Valley
Delicate lemon yellow, crisp aromas of pear and apple fruit meet sweeter notes of crème brûlée and honeysuckle. Fresh aromas of Meyer lemon awaken the senses before giving way to warmer notes of vanilla toast and spicy nutmeg. True to cool climate Chardonnay, this wine expresses elegant minerality in the form of crushed seashells. Flavors of ripe pear and apple pie fill the palate, complemented by sweet notes of cream, honey, and subtle cardamom spice. The finish is smooth, long, rich, and elegant.
91 Points, Wine Enthusiast, December 2014
“A classic Napa Valley Chardonnay, this is smooth, rich, balanced and well composed. Flowery aromas of honeysuckle open the way for lemon curd and ripe apple to compete with a depth of crème brûlée character that provides plenty of complexity, with additional accents of honey and spice.” – V.B.
Gold - 2014 Sunset International Wine Competition
After an unusually dry winter, a wet April provided most of Franciscan Estate's rainfall for the growing season. April proved to be a roller coaster for the vines, offering up a mixture of very wet weather and cold nights that required frost protection, followed by summer-like temperature spikes late in the month. From there, it was smooth sailing for the spring and summer. Lots of sunny, warm days brought flowering 3–4 weeks ahead of 2011. A typically warm summer was followed by a September with cooler-than-average temperatures and clear skies. These conditions lead to a perfect, long ripening season for cool-climate Chardonnay that Franciscan Estate began harvesting off their Larsen Estate Vineyard on September 21. As the harvest progressed, the quality of the Chardonnay was outstanding and the last of the Carneros Chardonnay came in on October 9.
In 1987, Franciscan Estate became the first Napa Valley winery to adopt the traditional Burgundian practice of fermenting Chardonnay entirely with wild, native vineyard yeasts. We named it Cuvée Sauvage. (In French, "sauvage" means "wild.") We start each vintage of Cuvée Sauvage by choosing the finest oak barrels and only the best lots from our Carneros vineyards. We don’t add yeast. We simply put the juice in the barrel and let the native vineyard yeasts start a wild and unpredictable fermentation. It begins slowly. And when it finally takes off, it moves at a leisurely pace and at cooler temperatures. As one strain of wild yeast slows, another comes forward, adding even more complexity and body to the wine. Each successive fermentation adds a new dimension, and each barrel develops its own personality with unique flavors and nuances.