California knows how to Chenin Blanc
California Chenin Blanc's are kicking ass right now. This little known zesty and dry white wine is giving every other white wine in the United States a run for its money. Why? Because Chenin Blanc is a wine with a serious edge, attitude, and killer style. It is the white wine equivalent of Atomic Blonde! Meet the white wine that's going to rule your spring and summer.
Chenin Blanc knows how to party
As far as grapes go, Chenin Blanc is super versatile! That means that winemakers can do a lot of things to it and with it. There are a number of styles of Chenin Blanc ranging from the super dry to the super sweet and everything in between. It has this unique ability to fit in anywhere it goes and never be out of place. Far from being a bit part player though, it also has a knack for making being the heart and soul, kind of like somebody dancing on the table while everybody goes "Ooh, what is this?" Yeh, that's Chenin Blanc.
That is kind of why I love the Rootdown Wine Cellars', Chenin Blanc. It is not as potent in terms of alcohol, but its broad appeal for taste and drinkability make it a wine that I am happy to take with me everywhere I go. I feel like this is a wine that is going to make people happy! Its got minerality, texture, and a citrus flair that is more tangerine and less bitter ass lemons.
California suits Chenin Blanc REALLY well
Because this grape is so versatile and so full of fun and vigor, it just seems to suit the climate and culture of California REALLY well. Its versatility as a grape means that at the hands of California's best, brightest, and most experimental winemakers, Chenin Blanc can be anything to anybody. Going around the state you get a sense that this is the reason so many winemakers love it. It is recognizable enough, but also kind of indie as far as wine grapes are concerned, and can be used as a method of expression in hundreds of different ways.
Most of the wines we have seen coming out of California have tended towards the drier, crisper side of what Chenin Blanc is capable of. When done right this means creating a wine that is zesty and refreshing as hell. These wines are lively, making you smile wider as you go from sip to sip and moan with delight at the bite that the minerality gives you. Who knew limestone could taste so damn good?
You'll also see a lot of Chenin Blanc that is superbly balanced between the rich and the crisp. This is usually where Chenin Blanc starts to show its many abilities. Like walking into a bar and grabbing everybody's attention, but slowly sinking into the background as it seduces its intended target, before kicking everybody's ass on the way out. Boom!
One of our favorite Chenin Blanc wines comes from Forlorn Hope. Its one of those amazing white wines that have a little bit of everything in heaped spoonfuls of awesomeness. Honeycomb, a saline-esque bite of minerality, and still a little crisp kiss of citrus puts the Loire Valley in its place with California wrestling the Chenin Blanc crown away.
Chenin Blanc with a wild side
Then you get the folks who really want to push this grape and see what it can do. But Chenin Blanc is up for anything, and can do just about anything! I love seeing California winemakers take this vibrant grape and go all out with it, take it to places you might never have expected, and just have a good time. So of course when I see a Pet-Nat version of a fucking great wine, I'm going to go all out and get as much as I can of that.
So it will come as no surprise then that I am entranced by the Broc Cellars Petillant Naturel of Chenin Blanc. An awesome winery, using an awesome method, on an awesome wine. That's a fucking triple check! This is the summer sparkling wine you have been waiting for.
Move over Sauvignon Blanc, Chenin Blanc is our new favorite summer wine.