2021 Frenchtown Farms “Cotillion”, Oregon House, North Yuba AVA, Sierra Foothills – 3+/$42.95

2021 Frenchtown Farms “Cotillion”, Oregon House, North Yuba AVA, Sierra Foothills – 3+/$42.95



I have been meaning to write about this sensational “local” wine since we first stocked it in late October. Now we understand there are only 12 cases remaining from the winery which we have reserved.

 “Cotillion” is about farmers expressing their blood, sweat, tears, and love in a bottle. It’s about very simple, but proper winemaking intended to showcase the the wine’s place of origin as purely as possible.

The 2021 “Cotillion” is the current proprietary red blend from Frenchtown Farms where Aaron and Cara Mockrish organically farm and source from the former religious cult Renaissance Vineyard in the North Yuba AVA of the Sierra Foothills.

To better understand the history of Renaissance Vineyard, the Mockrishs’ passionate dedication, and “Cotillion’s” heritage and pedigree, you MUST PLEASE READ San Francisco Chronicle’s Wine Editor Esther Mobley’s article How a California cult created one of the country’s great wineries, and then lost it – Updated October 15th, 2021. The photographs alone are worth your viewing.

“Cottillion” is an equal “dance” of very low yielding, dry-farmed Syrah and Grenache planted on various forms of granite in the early 1970s. Multiple passes were made through the vineyard between August 23rd and September 7th, harvesting all the fruit within a brix range of 21.5 to 23.5. All the fruit has been destemmed by hand using a homemade sorting tool that leaves the berries almost entirely intact. Rather than punchdowns or pumpovers, a progressive pigéage is practiced twice per day, crushing ~5% of the fruit each time. The wine was then pressed after ten days of maceration into tank until dry, and then barreled down into neutral French oak.

The wine aged on its lees for 20 monthsThe wine is not racked, fined or filtered. 22ppm SO2 addition at bottling only. 13.1% alcohol, 144 cases.

 Great structure! The “meaty” Syrah component has a dark, spicy, very structured Cornas quality. The Grenache tempers and reins in the Syrah’s youthful tannins while lending an earthy minerality, never compromising the Syrah’s expressiveness. Dark plums and wild berries, savory black olive tapenade, cured meats, and a nuanced iron-loamy earthy minerality.  Should age gracefully for years. We love it and have added six bottles to our cellar!