Habit Chenin Blanc 2016
Insane pairing with oysters and roast chicken.
Jeff has been to just about every corner of California and beyond in his search for the right grape to make the wine on his mind. To cut a years-long story short, he finally found what he was looking for in 2007, standing in a field in Happy Canyon, Santa Barbara County.
The map that led Jeff to Happy Canyon was drawn from countless conversations with wine lovers and vintners; both novices and experts whom he hoped could help him find what he was looking for. In Happy Canyon, the microclimate, the soil, the soft pacific breeze all combine to give birth to some of the finest Bordeaux grape varietals to come out of California. Jeff knew he had found his grape.
With so many years of frustrated experience under his belt, Jeff soon also found friends and accomplices in the region, each of them drawn to this point of convergence, each of them with a different wine on their mind. Their friendship, generosity of expertise and passion for the process has helped Jeff bring my own Habit into the public domain. Handcrafted, using artisanal methods in a state of the art facility, Habit is everything he hoped it would be.
Ranging from cool and foggy in the west to warm and dry in the east, the Santa Ynez Valley is a climatically diverse growing area. The most expansive AVA within the larger Santa Barbara County region, Santa Ynez is also home to a wide variety of soil types and geographical features. The appellation is further divided into four distinct sub-AVAs—Sta. Rita Hills, Ballard Canyon, Los Olivos District and Happy Canyon—each with its own defining characteristics.
A wide selection of grapes is planted here—more than sixty different varieties, and counting. Chardonnay and Pinot Noir dominate in the chilly west, while Zinfandel, Rhône blends, and Bordeaux blends rule the arid east. Syrah is successful at both ends of the valley, with a lean and peppery, Old-World sensibility closer to the coast and lush berry fruit further inland.
Unquestionably one of the most diverse grape varieties, Chenin Blanc can do it all. It shines in every style from bone dry to unctuously sweet, oaked or unoaked, still or sparkling and even as the base for fortified wines and spirits. Perhaps Chenin Blanc’s greatest asset is its ever-present acidity, maintained even under warm growing conditions. Somm Secret—Landing in South Africa in the mid 1800s, today the country has double the acreage of Chenin Blanc planted compared to France. There is also a new wave of dedicated producers committed to restoring old Chenin vines.