Pacific Rim Chenin Blanc 2006
Our Chenin Blanc grapes come from the Columbia Valley. We produce only a small number of cases of this delicious white wine. Grape sourcing is limited, but this wine is simply too good not to make. The juice is fermented in stainless steel tanks (No oak, no malolactic) and we usually work toward 1.2% of Residual Sugar to balance the slight natural bitterness of Chenin (look for the grapefruit rind finish).
Pacific Rim is the home of Riesling zealots. In fact, 95% of the total production is Riesling wines. Riesling is consistently one of the fastest growing white varietals in the wine industry. Riesling simply is the most versatile, complex and food-friendly of all the noble grapes. No other varietal can be crafted to express so many different and wondrous characteristics — from bone dry with floral aromas to dessert, sweet with spicy aromas.
More than any other varietal, Riesling purely expresses its terroir and Washington’s Columbia Valley — home of Pacific Rim — provides the ideal soils and climate for growing world class Riesling. Purity is at the core of Pacific Rim’s winemaking philosophy. They exclusively use stainless steel tanks, expressing the truest character of the vineyards. The wines are fresh, vivid and elegant with delicate yet complex aromas. Riesling’s crisp, vibrant characteristics are a fresh alternative to heavier, oak-laden white wines.
An important winegrowing state increasingly recognized for its high-quality reds and whites, Washington ranks second in production in the U.S. after California. Washington wines continue to gain well-deserved popularity as they garner higher and higher praise from critics and consumers alike.
Washington winemakers draw inspiration mainly from Napa Valley, Bordeaux and the Rhône as well as increasingly from other regions like Spain and Italy. Most viticulture takes place on the eastern side of the state—an arid desert in the rain shadow of the Cascade mountains. Irrigation is made possible by the Columbia River. Temperatures are extreme, with hot and dry summers and cold winters, during which frost can be a risk.
Washington’s wine industry was initially built on Merlot, which remains an important variety to this day, despite having been overtaken in acreage planted by Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah. Bordeaux blends and Rhône blends are common as well as single varietal bottlings. Washington reds tend to express a real purity of concentrated fruit. The best examples have a bold richness, seamless texture, plush or powdery tannins and flavors such as licorice, herb, forest floor, espresso and dark chocolate.
In terms of white wine, Riesling is the state’s major success story, producing crisp, aromatic examples with plenty of stone fruit that range from bone dry to lusciously sweet. Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc perform nicely here as well, and Viognier is beginning to pick up steam.
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.