WINE: MÉTHODE CAB NOUVEAU
VARIETY: CABERNET SAUVIGNON
Méthode Cab Nouveau is a fruity, silky smooth, early release Cabernet Sauvignon, produced using a novel tannin refinement process. A delightfully different, soft and approachable Cabernet Sauvignon with cherry, raspberry and plum aromas.
Drink within the first 18 months. If you do want to chill this wine, simply treat it like you would a Rosé or Light White (eg. Riesling, Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc).
If you’re looking for traditional Cabernet, this is not it. Inspired by Beaujolais Nouveau and its early release wine made from Gamay grapes, our Méthode Cab Nouveau showcases the delicious diversity of the variety and our creativity as winemakers.
Winemaker Luke Tocaciu says, "Méthode Cab Nouveau is a young, easy drinking Cabernet. I’m excited about how it turned out this year. It hits the mark of being a crisp Cabernet and suits being slightly chilled. It has some lovely body to it as well, darker than last year, with a bit more richness, but without v.2020 tannin structure. It's a young Cabernet with a soft tannin profile.”
Méthode Cab Nouveau also inspired the whole Méthode range, as an experimental platform created to challenge preconceived notions of variety and technique.
Luke says, “I took an opportunity to try something new with Cabernet when we released Méthode Cab Nouveau Edition 01. We've now had feedback from the trade, from journalists, from wine peers and friends, from our customers, that Méthode is exciting, forward-thinking and innovative. It’s certainly not a common approach with Cabernet Sauvignon, particularly in Coonawarra.”
"The innovation shown from Coonawarra producers in recent years demands attention. Winemaker Luke Tocaciu is stretching the interpretations of a couple of varieties, and damn, this is a dangerously delicious Cabernet drink. A Cabernet shooting high on the smashable spectrum." (Q Wine)
Part of the growing trend of light summer reds, Cab Nouveau is best drunk slightly chilled, perfect for a lunchtime wine or an afternoon session. This wine sits perfectly in the 'Chilled Red' category, you might see this referenced as CR on a wine list. Putting a red wine in the fridge is certainly not a new thing, but it has seen a re-emergence in the last couple of years, starting to take hold at bars and released by winemakers who are thinking outside the box.
As per the 2020 vintage, this wine is made to enjoy young — it's a soft, approachable twist on a classic variety. Luke says, “For those that like traditional Cabernet Sauvignon, you will need an open mind for Méthode Cab Nouveau. Let it take you on a new adventure.”
"This really deserves the nouveau tag, but better yet, it avoids the pitfalls of nouveau-ness, it is novel, proper, red wine and absolutely yummy." (Max Crus)
THE WINEMAKING PROCESS
Luke describes, "The process of making the v.2021 Méthode Cab Nouveau was really interesting. I really like playing with new things, especially as our industry can be very traditional. It has been exciting talking about something new and different to our customers. The idea behind Méthode was having a go and showing our customers some of the experiments that we do and the reasons and the science behind it.
That’s a passion of mine - to explain the scientific process behind the scenes, beyond just saying that I picked some fruit and put it in a barrel and it turned out great. This is why I'm a trained winemaker, there are so many nuances to understand in the making of good wine.
Making Cab Nouveau was an interesting project to make and I love the style. I think it’s my favourite wine from the Méthode range at the moment... but I feel like I say that about all my wines.
In terms of winemaking, Cab Nouveau ED.02 was a completely new approach compared to ED.01. Edition 01 spent minimal time on skins and that was about it. Edition 02 is a combination of less days on skins and a new technology that I wanted to try - reverse osmosis filtration.
I feel part artist part scientist, so the Cab Nouveau journey has ticked all my boxes. It was great to try two very different methods to achieve the same result.
An early release of Cabernet Sauvignon made to showcase the diversity of the variety. Minimal skin contact and reverse osmosis technology ensures softness and balance whilst maintaining varietal expression and a fresh cherry fruit flavour.
Grapes were harvested and crushed into an open fermenter. The must was left with CO2 cover to warm up and allow spontaneous fermentation with natural yeast. It was pumped over twice daily until day 5, when the juice was drained off and allowed to complete fermentation in tank. After this, a reverse osmosis filter was used to remove any large tannins with a molecular weight greater than 10,000. The resultant wine was then aged in (seasoned) 500L puncheons prior to bottling in January 2021.
The reverse osmosis filtration is a modern tool that winemakers can use to carefully select and refine flavours within a wine. It is the same technology used to remove alcohol in low or non-alcoholic wines. This is a unique use of this process, removing large, grippy and astringent tannins - leaving a light, fruit forward and soft style behind.
The molecule on the label is Ethyl Octanoate (figure 1), a fatty acid ester formed during fermentation. This compound has a distinct fruity aroma that is the hallmark of this style.