Leo Steen 2015 Saini Vineyard Dry Creek Valley Chenin Blanc
Release Date: Summer 2016
Production: 642 cases
Vineyard: After years of searching for just the right Chenin Blanc to work with, I found what I was looking for in the 34-year-old vines of Saini Farms in Dry Creek Valley. Planted in Yolo sandy loam soils on an old river bottom site, these dry-farmed vines produce grapes that capture the fresh, enticing purity that can be achieved when Chenin Blanc is grown with care and respect.
Harvest: With cool weather during spring, and ideal temperate weather during summer, 2015 offered near-perfect growing conditions. While yields were down slightly due to light clusters, the quality of the grapes was exceptional. We harvested our Chenin Blanc on August 18th and 19th, at 22.7° Brix, with the fruit arriving at the winery in pristine condition.
Fermentation: After gently breaking the berries, the grapes underwent 2 to 3 hours of skin contact prior to pressing. The wine was fermented cool in stainless steel using indigenous yeast for approximately one month until complete dryness.
Cellar Notes: 80% of the wine was transferred to neutral French oak, with the remaining 20% placed in a concrete egg, with both aged for four months on fine lees. The final wine was blended in tank in mid-January.
Total acid: 6.3g/l
Malolactic fermentation: 50%
Tasting Notes: My favorite vintage of Saini Chenin Blanc to date, 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.
Vision: In many ways, it is only fitting that the centerpiece of my winemaking efforts is a bone-dry Chenin Blanc. Steen is my family’s middle name, and it is also the South African word for Chenin Blanc. I have long been fascinated by this sleek and elegant varietal. To make this wine, I sought out the oldest Chenin Blanc vines in Dry Creek Valley. In the winery, I strive to be true to the varietal and craft a fresh, lively wine with the ability to complement an array of modern cuisine.