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2021 Leo Steen Chenin Blanc Saini Farms Dry Creek Valley

2021 Leo Steen Chenin Blanc Saini Farms Dry Creek Valley

92 VM

From the critics:

92 AG

Critic Reviews

The 2021 Chenin Blanc Saini Farms, from a site in Dry Creek Valley, is deep, flavorful and full of character. Dried pear, spice, white flowers and sage all run through this beautifully textured Chenin. Orchard fruit and floral accents brighten the finish nicely.

Antonio Galloni | 92 AG

Wine Details for 2021 Leo Steen Chenin Blanc Saini Farms Dry Creek Valley

Type of Wine California White : If you're in the mood for a creative, compelling white wine, few regions can compete with California, and it's immense varietal diversity. With the pure, potent essence of grapes such as Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, and Pinot Gris, these wines will stimulate your senses and arouse your intellect. Give in, and enjoy.
Varietal Chenin Blanc : With exception to Riesling, no other wine grape can be so vastly exploited viticulturally as the Chenin Blanc grape. The amenable variety can be vinified in a range of styles from lusciously sweet to bone dry; it is susceptible to Botrytis, enabling the production of rich dessert-styled wines and its versatility surpasses even that of Riesling as it can be fashioned into light, honeyed sparkling wines. Though it is cultivated in over twenty countries around the world, the varietal thrives in its native Loire Valley, where a multitude of micro-climates allows the grape to reveal its many different expressions.

Likely to have originated in the Anjou sub-region of Loire, Chenin Blanc has been cultivated in France for over 1300 years. It was first mentioned in official French documents in 845, but its existence is believed to be much older. It has played a major role in the shaping of the Loire winegrowing and making industry, where it has become the backbone of the sparkling, dry, off-dry and sweet wines from Bonnezeaux to Quarts de Chaume to Cremant de Loire to Vouvray and Savennieres.

The Loire and its many tributaries greatly impacts the climate and terroir of the region, creating a large range of micro-climates, all of which promote vine growth and contribute to the wide diversity of the regions wines. They also have a buffer effect, which is crucial notably for the production of rich, sweet wines. From the oceanic climate with mild winters, hot summers, plenty of sunshine and small variations in temperature in Anjou to the hilly sub-region of Samur, where the area is protected from winds blowing from the west, and where the weather variations are more pronounced; Loire’s micro-climates allow the many styles of Chenin Blanc to come to fruition.

The medium sized, yellow-green berries grow in compacted clusters, with vines that are vigorous in medium to fine textured soils. They are adaptable to various types of soils, but prevail in the native terroir of silex, schist, sand and clay, which dominates the natural landscape of the Loire Valley. In the vineyard, growers must keep Chenin Blanc’s naturally high yields in check, allowing flavors to concentrate and its floral bouquet to come through. The variety buds early and ripens late, making it a viticultural hazard as frost can be devastating in cooler regions.

Arguably the best expressions of Chenin Blanc from the Loire are the sweet botrytized wines from the Quarts de Chaume and Bonnezeaux sub-regions, where autumn mists in the Loire’s cool side valleys produce the required conditions for Botrytis Cinerea, otherwise known as noble rot. This unique and magical act of nature allows the grapes to attract a fungus (Botrytis Cinerea) which dehydrates the grapes, leaving them shriveled and raisin-like, resulting in extremely concentrated sugars and flavors. Botrytized Chenin wines are less weighty than their counterparts in Sauternes but are capable of aging as long as the Bordeaux sweet wines, sometimes longer. Good sweet Vouvray requires a decade to hit its peak but can be cellared for more than a century.

The Loire is in possession of 9,700 of the world’s 35,000 hectares under vine. New World offerings have become quite popular and are available from the United States, Australia, New Zealand, Argentina, Chile and South Africa. South Africa is, in fact, the largest cultivator of Chenin Blanc with over 17,500 hectares under vine. It has become the signature white grape of South Africa, where it is known locally as steen. It has traditionally been used as a blending grape, but in more recent years, vintners have been exploiting Chenin Blanc in single-varietal examples, which are more tropical in nature, with notes of pineapple and papaya, as opposed to the Loire wines which possesses strong floral aromas with flavors of apple and pear.

Country US : As one of the most prolific and innovative wine regions in the world, America is a joy to explore. Most wine connoisseurs will agree that the nation's finest and most compelling wines are being produced today, which means that we have front-row seats to one of the most inspirational stories in wine history. While other regions tend to focus on specific wine styles and have somewhat strict rules as to which varietals you could grow, areas like California have few such restrictions in place. As a result, creative visionaries behind America's most reputable estates have been able to develop compelling, unique, and innovative styles, with a level of terroir expression that rivals even France's largest giants.
Region California : With a history of wine production that dates back to the 18th century, California currently sits as one of the world's most prolific and reputable wine regions. With an area as vast as California, you can expect a colorful collage of terroir profiles, a series of microclimates, and micro-environments that give the wine a unique, memorable appeal. The region's produce is far from homogenized in that sense, and it would take you countless hours to sample all of it. While the region boasts scars from the Prohibition era, it went through what can only be described as a viticultural Renaissance sometime after the 1960s. At that point, California went from a port-style, sweet wine region to a versatile and compelling competitor on the world market. Today, no matter which way your taste in wine leans, you can find a new favorite producer among California's most talented.

Notable sub-regions include legendary names like Napa Valley and Sonoma County, places that any wine lover would die to visit. California's quintessential warm climate allows for incredibly ripe fruit expressions, a style that provides a stark contrast to Old World-inspired, earthy classics. Even where inspiration was clearly taken from staple French appellations, Californian winemakers put their own unique spin on the wine.
Subregion Sonoma County
Appellation Dry Creek Valley


Producer Leo Steen

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