At one time, back in the '50s and '60s, Chenin Blanc was the most ubiquitous grape planted in California. It could be grown anywhere and make acceptable wine - and a lot of it.
Then someone planted it in Clarksburg and everything changed. Now, there's Clarksburg Chenin Blanc, and Chenin Blanc from everywhere else.
The differences are so vast that it almost doesn't seem like the same grape. Winemaker Richard Castle is aware of this fact and, like most winemakers, is mindful of the reputation he must uphold when making Chenin Blanc wine from grapes grown in Clarksburg. Everybody now looks at it differently because we're all expecting something extraordinary.
This 2017 Chenin Blanc does not disappoint. As usual, Richard delivers an extraordinary wine. Of course, that's what we would expect, considering his 20 years of experience, half of which was at Benziger Winery, one of the most iconic and respected wineries in Sonoma.
This 2017 Chenin Blanc wine has it all, except an inflated price. There is that lovely, piquant peach in the nose that morphs into swashes of apricot and finally the telltale pineapple component that separates this unique grape from every other. Along with the pineapple comes an almost sweet melon component, but the wine is anything but sweet. It's just the harmonious fruit flavors that make this grape one our favorites.
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