When I bought the 2004 Montlouis Clos du Breuil François Chidaine, my recent contribution to Wine Blogging Wednesday, I also found a bottle of California Chenin Blanc, the 2005 Vinum Cellars Chenin Blanc CNW (Chard No Way) Cuvee. So I bought the wine, curious to see how Chenin Blanc from a warmer climate would taste.
Vinum Cellars is one of the few California wineries that makes Chenin Blanc. The reason is that the two founders and winemakers, Richard Bruno and Chris Condos, both share a long-standing passion for Chenin Blanc: “It is our belief that Chenin Blanc (when made well) rivals some of the greatest white wines of the world. This wine was made from cool climate grapes, barrel fermented in French Oak, and aged for 9 months. Blah, Blah, Blah, Blah, Blah...REDISCOVER CHENIN BLANC!&rdquo
The Chenin Blanc grapes come from Wilson Vineyards in the Clarksburg AVA. This out-of-the-way region is located west of Sacramento and has a unique combination of soils, water, and climate. The soils are rich in organic material with a high mineral content. The Sacramento River provides an abundant source of water. Daytime temperatures are not as high as in nearby Sacramento thanks to cooling breezes coming from San Francisco Bay and rolling into the Sacramento delta. Chenin Blanc and Petite Sirah grow particularly well in this area.
The 2005 Vinum Cellars Chenin Blanc CNW Cuvee has a pale yellow color. The nose is aromatic with expansive fruity and floral notes. On the palate, the body is quite full with some good acidity and ripe fruit flavors. Although it does not have the sharp minerality of a Loire Valley Chenin Blanc, it is nevertheless very pleasurable to drink. And for the price, Chard No Way!
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