Lang & Reed Chenin Blanc
When we began our exploration of Chenin Blanc, never could we have imagined that we would be on the wave of a California renaissance of this very noble variety. Almost lost in the dusty cellar of underappreciated wines in California, the demand for and the number of wineries producing Chenin Blanc has exploded in five short years. This 2019 Chenin Blanc is the sixth vintage from vineyards located in Mendocino County in Northern California. The inspiration remains the Loire Valley in France, where Chenin Blanc gained its fame. The source for this bottling comes from a region in Mendocino referred to as the Talmage Bench. The vineyard, located on the east side of the Russian River in an area that has excelled in growing Chenin Blanc for any years, was planted in 1978 on a gentle, north-facing slope with excellent aspect that allows for great drainage and even ripening without too much heat accumulation.
This wine’s vinification is a collaborative effort between Winemaker John Skupny and his son, Reed. Reed has had his hand in making white wine on three continents - Sauvignon Blanc in New Zealand, Chardonnay in Napa Valley and Chenin Blanc in Chinon, France. For this wine, the grapes were whole-cluster pressed, left to settle for a day, and then transferred into 14 barrels, four of which were stainless steel and ten were French oak. Half was allowed to ferment on the indigenous yeast, and half was inoculated with select organic yeast strains. The lees were stirred, also known as batonnage, bi-weekly until two months before bottling. The final assemblage proved greater than any of the individual barrels.
This Lang & Reed Chenin Blanc initially displays aromas of delicate sweetness of orange blossom and stone fruit,
with a light hint of the saline scent of sea air, all topped off with notes of honey. Energetic fruit that mirrors the aromas
and unfolds into peach and nectarine fruit on the palate with rounding flavors of white melon. The wine exhibits quiet
confidence throughout, with a smooth texture, long-lasting flavors and a hint of minerality and tartness in the finish.
Though very enjoyable now, in its youth, this wine possesses enough depth to gain complexity and nuance with a few
years of cellaring.