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Leo Steen Saini Vineyard Chenin Blanc 2016

Chenin Blanc from Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma County, California
  • WW92
13.5% ABV
  • WW92
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5.0 2 Ratings
13.5% ABV

Winemaker Notes

This wine has alluring weight and richness, a silky texture and dazzling aromas of Anjou pear, green apple, quince, lemon verbena and white flowers. With a lovely hint of viscosity to the mouthfeel, the flavors seem to glide across the palate, offering a medley of orchard fruit, Meyer lemon, and green pineapple notes, as well as hints of white tea and wet Riverstone minerality that carry through to a lingering finish.

Critical Acclaim

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WW 92
Wilfred Wong of Wine.com
Showing an attractive sharp edge and palate-filling richness, the crisp and well-defined 2016 Leo Steen Saini Farms Chenin Blanc brings satisfaction to the palate. Pair it with savory shellfish entrees. (Tasted: January 4, 2018, San Francisco, CA)
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Leo Steen

Leo Steen

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Leo Steen, Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma County, California
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At Leo Steen, I strive to make interesting wines with both a sense of place and a purpose. For me, the “purpose” of my wines has become a quintessential element in my winemaking philosophy. Years ago, before I embarked upon my journey as a winemaker, I was a sommelier guiding people through an exploration of the timeless relationship between wine and food. I loved thinking about how food and wine worked together, and offering people choices beyond the obvious. The satisfaction of introducing people to new varietals from exciting undiscovered vineyards, and showing how these wines enhanced great food, was and continues to be, thrilling for me.

When I founded Leo Steen Wines in 2004, those experiences stayed with me. I wanted to look beyond the standards—Pinot Grigio, Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc and Cabernet Sauvignon—and instead offer people unique and interesting varietals. I also wanted people to able to enjoy my wines by the glass. This meant offering them at a price that was both accessible and fair, without ever sacrificing quality.

All of my wines are made by my own hand in small lots using gentle, traditional winemaking techniques. In the spectrum of California winemaking, they are crafted at lower alcohols, with very modest amounts of new oak, or none at all. While my wines offer lovely fruit, I strive to express the purity of these flavors as part of a balanced and harmonious whole. Finally, to ensure that every barrel of wine receives the attention it deserves (an idea symbolized by my Sommelier Prints), I make less than 1,000 cases each vintage.

I hope you enjoy my Leo Steen wines, and I thank you for your interest.

Dry Creek Valley

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A multifaceted and highly reputable sub-region of Sonoma, Dry Creek Valley is responsible for a wide range of wine styles both red and white. The warm and welcoming appellation is home to a number of family-owned vineyards and wineries that place a strong emphasis on sustainable farming practices. One of the smallest AVAs in California, Dry Creek Valley has a winning combination of ideal geography and climate. Fertile, well-drained soils create concentrated varietal character while long, warm days bookended by cool nights allow grapes to reach full ripeness while retaining acidity and balance.

Zinfandel reigns supreme here, often grown on vines aged 35 to 100 or older, taking on a powerful, voluptuous character favored by fans of the variety. Sauvignon Blanc, the valley’s signature white grape, also performs exceptionally well. Many other varieties grow comfortably here, including Cabernet Sauvignon, Rhône varieties, and Italian varieties. Petite Sirah and Carignan are commonly blended with Zinfandel.

Chenin Blanc

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Responsible for some of the world’s highest quality white wines, Chenin Blanc doesn’t always get the recognition it deserves. Unquestionably at its best in its birthplace of the Loire Valley, Chenin Blanc can do it all—from bone dry to unctuously sweet, still or sparkling. Perhaps Chenin Blanc’s greatest asset is its ever-present acidity, maintained even under warm growing conditions. Chenin Blanc is planted in California, namely in the Clarksburg AVA but also very widely planted in South Africa, where it is occasionally labeled as “Steen.”

In the Glass

Chenin Blanc ranges from austere to richly sweet, with aromas of McIntosh apple, honey, beeswax, jasmine, hay, and quince. When grown in warmer regions, Chenin Blanc develops richer, tropical-fruit flavors, such as pineapple and melon, as well as ripe stone fruit. Often these wines carry some residual sugar.

Perfect Pairings

Cool-climate Chenin Blanc has the structure, austerity, and chalky acidity to work with antipasti or unadorned seafood, such as oysters and shellfish. Off-dry styles work well with the sweet-and-sour nature of Thai and Vietnamese food.

Sommelier Secret

There are several appellations throughout the Loire Valley devoted to producing different styles of Chenin Blanc. Vouvray, Saumur, Anjou, and Savennieres are known for excellent dry and off-dry wines; Vouvray, along with Montlouis, Bonnezeaux, and Quarts de Chaume, produces glorious late-picked sweet wines whose high sugar levels are offset by Chenin Blanc’s hallmark acidity. Sparkling Crèmant de Loire, Saumur, and Vouvray provide delightfully affordable and flavorful alternatives to Champagne.

LSWLS165CBSF1_2016 Item# 355683