Vin Doux Naturels
"Vin Doux Naturel" means naturally sweet wine, and refers to a fortified wine whose sweetness comes from the sugar in the grapes. Similar to the way Port is produced, we make our dessert wine by stopping the fermentation halfway through by adding grape spirits. This preserves some of the unfermented sugar from the grapes, and combines it with a heightened alcohol from the brandy. We then barrel age for a few years, allowing for complete integration of the brandy, and introducing new flavors like coffee and hazelnut.
2014 ALEXANDER VALLEY CABERNET FRANC VIN DOUX NATUREL
20.0% Alcohol by Volume
We have made several versions of dessert wine from the Cabernet Franc from our own vineyards, so when we managed to get our hands on some Cabernet Franc from Alexander Valley, we decided to give it a try in this style as well. It was fortified with neutral grape spirit, and aged about two years in French oak before bottling.
Close your eyes and you might think you had walked into a pastry shop. Aromas of baked strawberry, cream, and chocolate waft out of this glass, and are matched by a Neapolitan creaminess on the palate and a jammy strawberry finish.
Nothing beats chocolate ganache cake with this wine, but if you're looking for something a little less traditional, you can mix it with a little balsamic for a fantastic reduction sauce that can top anything from New York cheesecake to pork chops. Or, try a sweet and salty combination of blue cheese, pretzels, or popcorn for the perfect movie night snack.
2016 SAN FRANCISCO BAY PINOT GRIS VIN DOUX NATUREL
20.0% Alcohol by Volume
This wine first came to be when a neighbor asked us to make wine for him, but the grapes were just a few days past perfectly ripe... so what to do with the heightened sugar? We made dessert wine! We fell in love with the honeyed nuttiness of this version of Pinot Gris and set about to perfect it in the following years. It was bottled after about a year and a half in oak.
It's easy to be so busy smelling this wine, you forget to drink it. It is bursting with honeysuckle, orange blossom, white peach, and apricot. The texture is rich and honey like, balanced with a clean green pear acidity. It finishes with a faint hazelnut note that lasts long after the wine is gone.
This wine makes a divine summer afternoon aperitif served with watermelon, feta, and basil salad. Or as a snack with dried apricots and roasted almonds. Enjoy it like the Portuguese drink white Port, with ice and a lime twist, or with soda and lemon. This is a wine that shines no matter how it's served.