Domaine Nau Freres



Nestled in the sleepy riverside village of Ingrandes-de-Touraine, Abel Nau and his family craft impressive reds - and a charming rose_, for fun - from their small hillside domain. No bells and whistles, these solid red Loire wines are attractive to newcomers to this appellation as well as seasoned Loire Valley aficionados.

Bourgueil is one of the three great red wine appellations of the Touraine region of the Loire Valley. The other two are St-Nicolas-de-Bourgueil and Chinon. Chinon's inexpensive, easily drinkable, but ageworthy and complex wines are probably the most critically acclaimed here. But many drinkers prefer Bourgueils for their unctuous thickness, deep, complex flavors, and distinctive dark berry fruit notes.

The Bourgueil AOC is named for the Indre-et-Loire village in which most of the wine is produced. At around 13 square miles, Bourgueil is quite large and has many vineyards. The five other designated villages for production, Benais, Chouz_-sur-Loire, La Chapelle-sur-Loire, Restigne, and St-Patrice bring the total land under vine up to nearly 3,000 acres.

Bourgueil's vineyards are situated on the River Loire, which has a major influence on the style of the wines. Vineyards closer to the water yield more mild wines, with Cabernet Franc's usual red fruit flavors. Grapes further away turn into wines with more intense, dark flavors of currant and black cherry. The reason is that closer to the water, the soils are softer and more sandy, which makes for soft, fruit-forward wines. On the hills above the riverbanks, where Nau Freres 'Blottieres' parcel is located the soils are composed of more limestone/gravel and make for much more powerful wines.

Not wanting to exhibit an oak influence on the wines, the domaine eschews the use of any barrique or foudre, instead choosing to vinify exclusively in large, temperature-controlled cement tanks to preserve freshness. For the 'Les Blottieres' cuvee, the 45+ year old vines see hand punch-downs and is bottled exclusively with free-run juice.