Friday, January 3, 2014

Foxen 2012 Old Vines Chenin Blanc, Ernesto Wickenden Vineyard, Santa Maria Valley

This bottle was waiting for us after a long day of skiing at Beaver Creek in Avon, Colorado. We started skiing about 10:30 and didn’t get off the slopes until about 4:30. By the time I finally got my ski boots off, it was as if my feet were released from a year of solitary prison confinement.
It was a sunny and bright blue Colorado day. We hadn’t been skiing for a couple years, so we were a bit challenged by the slopes – especially with icy patches lurking beneath a couple inches of surface snow.
Green Dragon was doing very well until her knee gave out toward the end of the day. This resulted in her unable to turn – which is a big drawback when you have ski racers thundering down from above and a big drop-off below.
We finally made it back to the lodge and opened the Foxen 2012 Old Vines Chenin Blanc. I’m a Chenin Blanc fan but there isn’t much produced in the US. It mostly comes from South Africa or Vouvray in France.
Foxen is a winery we visited a couple years ago while touring wineries in Santa Barbara County. They do great Pinot Noir and Rhone wines, but also have superb whites.
This Chenin is bottled California freshness. The first sip is like chomping into a bunch of cool grapes on a hot day. The wine is clean and crisp with a hint of sweetness. The Ernesto Wickenden Vineyard is a three-acre plot that was planted 43 years ago, earning the “old vines” label for this wine.
The wine is aged in neutral oak for four months, and the oaking wasn’t evident. That’s good because many a white wine has been ruined by gratuitous oaking. The Foxen has flavor swirls of pear and citrus and has a nice minerally finish.
A total of 1,240 cases were produced. We picked it up for $25. It’s a well done wine just right for unwinding after a day of winter sports.
Conventional thinking is to “hunker down” during winter (we’re in the middle of a winter weather advisory as I write this) and uncork hearty red wines. There’s nothing wrong with that – but another great option is to open a fresh white wine and enjoy some bottled sunshine.
Rating: 3 of 5  Value: 2.5 of 5
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