Roark Wine Co. Chenin Blanc 2015
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
Ryan started his journey with a fascination for farming; he studied plant pathology and microbiology at Texas A&M where he was able to take part in an agricultural exchange program that placed him with a small family-owned winery located in the Loire Valley. There he worked the land and learned the skills that he would take with him throughout France, New Zealand, and California .
What began as a 100 case Chenin Blanc project has evolved into a small grape growing and winemaking operation. Ryan and his small team farm a handful of vineyards throughout Santa Barbara County while also sourcing grapes from trusted growers to produce about 1,500 cases of wine per year.
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.