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A natural wine that stands up to time.
Free Form Cabernet Franc 2017 $40
So much of the time when we talk about wine, we talk about tasting notes that come from a tasting session done under ideal circumstance: great glassware, freshly opened bottle, well-lit room.
But the reality is that quite often real-world wine drinking is less than ideal. For example – even with my wife’s help, I often don’t polish off a bottle of wine in a single day. It usually takes two, but sometimes I cork or cap the bottle and forget about as I move on to something else.
That’s the case with this wine from Okanagan Crush Pad’s Free Form label. Free Form is non-interventionist wine: it uses natural, not commercial, yeast; it’s fermented in either clay amphorae or concrete tanks; little or no sulfites are added to preserve the wine. When people talk about the nebulous term “Natural Wine”, they’re talking about low-intervention wines like this. So I opened the bottle, tasted it and made my notes: lovely dark hue, on the palate expressive notes of Damson plum and dried sage, enjoyable lightly green notes, etc. It was a great example of low-intervention winemaking and of the type that would convert many skeptic to the natural wine phenomena. I re-corked the bottle and went about my night.
But one of my kids must have moved the bottle to the fridge because there its was, some four or five nights later when I was hankering for a small glass of something, but was too cheap to open a brand new bottle. I poured it into a stemless glass, swirled it around in with my hot hands cradling the glass to try to warm it up a notch or two and dove in.
What a wonder. Even cold, the wine still had those lovely plum and savoury notes, and whereas the oxygen should have wreaked havoc on the wine’s juiciness, it was still dancing around, having fun, not ready for bed in the least. It’s always a surprise when a wine refuses to bow to terror of oxidation and doubly so when it does so without the aid of stabilizing sulfites. By all basic standards these low intervention wines should be the most fragile, but a funny thing is, a lot of them seem to stand up to the ravages of time surprisingly well. I don’t know if it’s the dialled-in grape growing or the need for a confident winemaker or something else, but they often stand tall against all odds.
So the next time you want to have a glass of something great, then forget about and then have a second glass served cold, 5 days later – baby, I have the wine for you.