09 Nov Please The Palate Wine of the Week: Lieu Dit 2021 Cabernet Franc ‘Sans Soufre’, Santa Ynez Valley
I was intrigued by the floral and herbal aromas as I put my nose to the glass. On the palate, the wine was dense yet energetic. I took a sip and wanted another, and another, of the Lieu Dit 2021 Cabernet Franc ‘Sans Soufre’, Santa Ynez Valley, the Please The Palate wine of the week.
Lieu Dit was founded by Justin Willett in 2011 to focus on varieties indigenous to the Loire Valley which are grown in Santa Barbara County, which includes Sauvignon Blanc, Chenin Blanc, Cabernet Franc, Melon de Bourgogne, Gamay, and Rose. Santa Barbara County is ideal for Loire varieties due to the predominance of marine sediment and diatomaceous earth.
The Cabernet Franc is sourced from own-rooted vines planted at the Happy Canyon Vineyard on the east side of the Santa Ynez Valley. The grapes are fermented with native yeasts and pressed to neutral barrels.
Lieu Dit makes different expressions of Cabernet Franc. The Cabernet Franc “Sans Soufre” means no sulfur was added at anytime during the winemaking process. While small amounts of sulfur are naturally occurring during fermentation, sulfur is used in winemaking as a preservative used in the aging process to protect a wine. Justin does not use a lot of sulfur in any of his Lieu Dit wines but this particular wine had no sulfur added and the result is a purity and freshness in the wine.
The wines of Lieu Dit are bright, floral, and elegant, and are lower alcohol and the Cabernet Franc “Sans Soufre” is no exception. Elevated aromas of boysenberry, black raspberry, brambly red fruits, and violets meld with secondary notes of black tea, wet rocks, licorice, and herbs. On the palate, the wine is dense and fills the palate but also has a refreshing, energetic lift with crunchy acidity.
The Lieu Dit 2021 Cabernet Franc ‘Sans Soufre’, Santa Ynez Valley retails for $30.