2017 Leo Steen Chenin Blanc Saini Farms

Year: 2017
Appellation: Dry Creek Valley
Country: USA-California
Wine Advocate: 89+
Vinous Media: 91
White Wine
Alcohol by Volume: 13.0%
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"The 2017 Chenin Blanc Saini Farms comes from 37-year-old vines. It fermented mostly in French oak with some concrete and aged five months on the lees. It opens with a touch of rubbery reduction, giving way to lime peel, white stone fruits, quince, creamy touches and a rocky streak. It's light to medium-bodied with lanolin and mineral notions, juicy acidity and a rounded finish. 572 cases produced." (WA)

"From a site in Dry Creek, the 2017 Chenin Blanc Saini Farms is bright, linear and built on a core of serious energy. Lemon peel, white flowers, mint and crushed rocks all grace a finely cut, saline-infused Chenin that speaks with real personality. Drink it over the next handful of years." (VM)

Winery Notes:
After years of searching for just the right Chenin Blanc to work with, I found what I was looking for in the 38-year-old vines of Saini Farms in Dry Creek Valley. Planted in Yolo sandy loam soils on an old river bottom site, these dry-farmed vines produce grapes that capture the fresh, enticing purity that can be achieved when Chenin Blanc is grown with care and respect.

The 2018 growing season produced another exceptional vintage, a wet spring followed by a mild summer allowed the grapes too mature slowly without heat stress. Though yields were above normal, quality was very good and the healthy canopies maintained a high acidity level. Further to preserve the high natural acidity that defines this wine, we hand picked our Saini Chenin Blanc on September 7th and 8th at 21.0 Brix.

After gently breaking the berries, the grapes underwent 2 to 3 hours of skin contact prior to pressing. The wine was fermented in stainless steel using indigenous yeast for approximately one month until complete dryness.

Cellar Notes:
90% of the wine was transferred to neutral French oak, with the remaining 10% placed in a concrete egg, with both aged for five months on fine lees. The final wine was blended in tank in March.

Tasting Notes:
This wine has alluring weight and richness, a silky texture and subtle aromas of Bosc pear, white pepper, chamomile, and lemon peel. The palate offers a medley of beeswax, lemon salt and almond notes that carry through to a lingering refreshing finish.

In many ways, it is only fitting that the centerpiece of my winemaking efforts is a bone- dry Chenin Blanc. Steen is my family’s middle name, and it is also the South African word for Chenin Blanc. I have long been fascinated by this sleek and elegant varietal. To make this wine, I sought out the oldest Chenin Blanc vines in Dry Creek Valley. In the winery, I strive to be true to the varietal and craft a fresh, lively wine with the ability to complement an array of modern cuisine.