Chalone Chenin Blanc 2006

Chalone Vineyard, Chalone, Estate Grown, Chenin Blanc 2006 I’m a huge fan of Chenin so I come at this review in a bit of a quandary. We visited the winery last week and had an opportunity to see the vines that produce this wine. They are truly old soldiers, planted in 1919, weathered and gnarly, living and producing grapes in the harsh environment next to the Pinnacles National Monument.

When I tasted the sample at the winery I noted the lanolin, the acidity, the roundness and the richness. I was in awe of the old bush vines. I purchased a bottle and am tasting that one tonight. In the nose there is the lanolin with a touch of alcohol and a bit of lime. In the mouth the richness is apparent, a light viscosity with the acidity behind it. This is a very round Chenin, showing complexity, a compelling wine. Yet I worry that the acid hounds out there would be disappointed in the early-dawning complexity and the relatively subdued acidity. For someone raised on Savennieres, you might think this is peaking very early.

But maybe that’s unfair. In the New World where Chenin has fallen out of favor, maybe this approach is the route back to being in vogue – a rounder, softer touch with the dry expressions of this grape. Half of the wine was fermented in stainless, the other half in French oak. Estate grown, produced and bottled at the west gate of the Pinnacles in Soledad 14.1% purchased at the winery where it retails for $26 Chalone Vineyard

About RJ

Ray Johnson is the Executive Director of the Wine Business Institute at Sonoma State University. He writes about food and wine, his travels and the business of wine. He makes his home in Sonoma County, California.
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