Chenin Blanc is a grape that made its reputation in France’s Loire Valley. But there is one – and only one – American winery that has produced 45 consecutive vintages of dry Chenin Blanc…
French Goodness Finds A Home In California
Even before we knew much about good wine, we loved Chenin Blanc. That’s because we came to enjoy Vouvray, a French wine made with the grape. Chenin Blanc can produce some incredibly complex wines.
While South Africa produces a large amount of Chenin Blanc, much of it is high volume and low quality. That has unfairly tarnished the reputation of this sublime grape with some drinkers.
I was surprised to learn that family-run Dry Creek Vineyard in California has produced 45 consecutive vintages of dry Chenin Blanc. They are the only American winery to do so. The “dry” part of the equation is important. Chenin can be finished bone dry or as sweet as a dessert style. Our palate runs to the dry to off-dry part of the sugar spectrum.
If you are like me, you’ve probably run into this situation before. Your spouse surprises you with a wonderful gourmet dinner entrée of swordfish skewers and you are in a quandary about which wine to serve. OK, actually it wasn’t a surprise – but rather a party for a group of friends. But it would have been nice if it was a surprise.
At any rate, I was still left with the question of what to serve with swordfish. Swordfish is interesting because it is “meatier” than the typical fish fillet. I had a bottle of the 2016 Dry Creek Vineyard Dry Chenin Blanc chilling and this turned out to be a spot-on pairing.
Our skewers had mushrooms, peppers and other veggies along with the swordfish chunks. It was served over a bed of couscous and accompanied with asparagus.
The Dry Creek Vineyard Chenin is done in the Loire style – meaning the accent is on fresh, bright flavors and no oak aging. The wine is fermented in stainless steel. That’s just how we like it.
It offers flavors of lime, white flowers and pear. This is a dry Chenin Blanc, but the acidity is low – so the overall effect is a full, juicy taste. There is no teeth-rattling acid.
I also had a nice bottle of Russian River Valley Pinot Noir on the wine list for the evening, but one of guests who was in from Minnesota couldn’t get enough of the Dry Creek Vineyard Chenin Blanc. As a result, I couldn't get enough either – literally!
Also tasty is the SRP for Dry Creek Vineyard 2016 Dry Chenin Blanc is a mere $15. This is a unique and delicious bottle and represents a sterling value.
Full disclosure: This bottle was received as a marketing sample.