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Vinum Cellars Chard-No-Way (dry Chenin Blanc) 2003

Chenin Blanc from California
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    Winemaker Notes

    It is our belief that Chenin Blanc (when made well) rivals some of the greatest white wines of the world. This wine was made from cool climate grapes, barrel fermented in French Oak, and aged for 9 months. Blah, Blah, Blah, Blah, Blah...REDISCOVER CHENIN BLANC!

    Working with our designer (Anya, of Full Tank Design) on the label for this wine was almost as fun as making the wine. After seeing this label, our parents lovingly refer to us as Ben and Jerry. Come to think of it, we didnt ask Ken Wilson (our grower) what he would think about putting his name on a pint of Ben and Jerrys, but after tasting the wine, he didn't seem to mind. Undoubtedly, Ken grows the best Chenin Blanc in California at his vineyard in Clarksburg. For those who aren't familiar with Clarksburg, it is located west of Sacramento. It has a unique microclimate where the cool breezes from the Sierras and the Bay moderate the long hot days which allow the grapes to reach optimal maturity. In addition to those ideal growing conditions, the grapes come from low yielding old vines which provide the intensity that makes our Chenin Blanc unique.

    Critical Acclaim

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    Vinum Cellars

    Vinum Cellars

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    Vinum Cellars, California
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    Winemakers Richard Bruno and Chris Condos first met while students at UC Davis, bonding over their love for Chenin Blanc and other obscure grape varietals. They established Vinum Cellars in 1997 with their first vintage of Chenin Blanc and since then have expanded production to include different varietals from multiple California AVAs.

    Their philosophy is that winemaking begins in the vineyard and thus they value their strong relationships with top California growers in key locations. The duo has long-standing relationships with growers in Napa, Sonoma, Clarksburg, Monterey and Paso Robles.

    California

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    Responsible for the vast majority of American wine production, if California were a country, it would be the world’s fourth largest wine-producing nation. The state’s diverse terrain and microclimates allow for an incredible range of wine styles, and unlike tradition-bound Europe, experimentation is more than welcome here. Wineries range from tiny, family-owned boutiques to massive corporations, and price and production are equally varied. Plenty of inexpensive bulk wine is made in the Central Valley area, while Napa Valley is responsible for some of the world’s most prestigious and expensive “cult” wines.

    Each American Viticultural Area (AVA) and sub-AVA of has its own distinct personality, allowing California to produce wine of every fashion: from bone dry to unctuously sweet, still to sparkling, light and fresh to rich and full-bodied. In the Napa Valley, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc dominate vineyard acreage. Sonoma County is best known for Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon and Zinfandel. The Central Coast has carved out a niche with Rhône Blends blends based on Grenache and Syrah, while Mendocino has found success with cool climate varieties such as Pinot noir, Riesling and Gewürztraminer. With all the diversity that California has to offer, any wine lover will find something to get excited about here.

    Chenin Blanc

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    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. While most would agree it reigns supreme when from its birthplace of the Loire Valley, Chenin is the most planted variety in South Africa. California’s Clarksburg appellation is also winning more notoriety for its Chenin.

    In the Glass

    Chenin's drier versions commonly have characteristics of passion fruit, lemon, quince, green apple, saffron and chamomile while sweeter version express aromas and flavors such as yellow pear, white peach, persimmon, melon, ginger and honeysuckle. When aged in oak, qualities like meringue and brioche can be found. Sparkling versions often have yellow apple, ginger and floral notes.

    Perfect Pairings

    Cool-climate Chenin blanc has the chalky acidity to work with light seafood such as oysters and shellfish. Off-dry styles work well with the sweet-and-sour nature of Thai and Vietnamese food. The sparkling versions such as Saumur Mousseux, Vouvray Petillant and Crémant de Loire make amazing aperitif options that won’t bruise the pocketbook.

    Sommelier Secret

    South Africa actually has double the amount of Chenin blanc planted compared to France. It is believed that either the Dutch navigator, Jan van Riebeeck, brought the grape to Cape Town in 1655 or the Huguenots fleeing France brought it in 1685. Either way, the South Africans have favored it for many centuries and make it in almost every style. Today a new wave of dedicated producers has committed to restoring old Chenin vines and finding the most ideal new spots for this prized variety.

    HNYVCSCNW03C_2003 Item# 80349