2015 Chenin Blanc

Rutherford, Napa Valley

Rutherford, Napa Valley

2015 Chenin Blanc Rutherford, Napa Valley - Calder Wine Company
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What’s old is new in Napa! While even just 30 years
ago Chenin Blanc was still the third-most planted white grape variety in Napa
Valley,  the last three decades have been
hard on the grape, with the vast majority of the acreage being replanted to
other varieties. However, as closer attention is paid to the intricate soil
differences in Napa, grapes like Chenin sometimes have the opportunity to find
their niche again. This block of Chenin was T-budded (a form of grafting) in
2014 onto a 1998 planting of Merlot that is controlled by my family, and sits
on a swathe of clay, silt, and river gravel that contains a little too much
gravel to be suitable for Sauvignon Blanc, but a little too much clay to be suitable
for great Merlot. I suggested that we take a chance with grafting the block
over to Chenin, and it has paid off, with the grapes and wine boasting both
great depth of flavor and a strong acid backbone.  


Bright and lemony in its youth, this wine is rapidly
developing the beeswax and mineral aromas that I love so much in Chenin Blanc.
A small amount of skin contact and lees aging adds a significant amount of
texture, while a strong acid profile ensures a bright, savory palate and



1.3 tons of Chenin were hand-harvested on August 12th,
2015 – one of the first varieties to be picked in 2015. The grapes were
destemmed and crushed into the press and given 90 minutes of skin contact
before being pressed. Fermentation, which proceeded under the strength of the
grapes’ native yeasts, was in two parts: half of the fruit was sent to 2
neutral oak barrels and given no direct temperature control, finishing primary
fermentation in 6 days; the other half was sent to 2 stainless steel barrels and
kept below 55°F during its 2-week fermentation. One SS barrel was racked over the
winter to prevent reduction, but otherwise the wine aged on its original
fermentation lees, unstirred, until being bottled unfiltered on February 20th,

Technical Information
  • Country
  • Region Napa Valley
  • Appellation Rutherford
  • Vineyard Galleron Vineyard
  • Alcohol 12.8%
  • Production 92 cases