NORTH YUBA, Sierra Foothills
In 2015, East coasters Aaron and Cara Mockrish moved to North Yuba, California with a mind to start a farm raising sheep and growing vegetables. That all changed when they encountered a bottle of 2008 Clos Saron ‘Black Pearl.’ The wine captivated them and upon discovering that Clos Saron was just up the road they set out to make a connection. This evolved into an apprenticeship of sorts that formed the foundation for what is now Frenchtown. Although Frenchtown began as an ideological successor to the Clos Saron legacy, Cara and Aaron have been through a rigorous process of exploration to find their own voice. Eye opening conversations with luminaries like Batiste Overnoy, Pescaline Lepeltier and Nicolas Gordo of Domaine Simon Bize have helped them develop new ideas about how to temper and communicate North Yuba’s monumental terroir to produce more youthful wines.
Their foundational white, is a Sauvignon Blanc dominant co-fermentation in steel with Roussanne and Semillon after a brief, whole cluster pre soak. Aged in neutral French oak barrels.
A hybrid wine made from a mix of all the red varieties they grow, directly, whole-cluster pressed and whole cluster, skin fermented Sauvignon Blanc. Envisioned as a more structured, age-worthy pink wine.
A 50/50 co-fermentation of Syrah and early picked, super juicy Grenache hand destemmed and fermented as largely as whole berries for 9-10 days before pressing. Aged in neutral French oak barrels.
This is the Frenchtown Farms 'bordelaise' wine made from 70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Merlot, 5% Semillon whole-cluster, co-fermented in macro bins. Pressed after 5 days into neutral French oak barrels.
“We have a new direction that we’re so excited about” Aaron says of their decision to get away from working with purchased fruit altogether. As of 2020's harvest, their wines will be exclusively made from their own crops. All of their negoce wines from previous harvests will be sold under the quirky Et Alia label created by Gideon’s ~18 year old son for like fifty bucks. “We basically had what I feel is beautiful wine on our hands and wanted to find a way to work with it at a price that’s a no brainer” he says. Not only are these wines delish, amusing and delightfully thrifty but they help Aaron and Cara bring their new vision to the market faster.
ET ALIA PINOT NOIR
The limestone-rich vineyard sits at one of the only East facing slopes in the Yamhill-Carlton AVA. “There’s only so many perfect spots in the valley” Aaron says. Whole cluster fermented and aged in neutral barrel with low sulfite addition.
ET ALIA PICPOUL
The grapes are foot crushed as whole clusters, soaked overnight and pressed the following morning into steel tanks. After ferment they transfer the base wine to barrels with barely any lees at all, an unusual move for them but a great way to preserve the brilliance they wanted to capture in the wine.'