2016 Chenin Blanc

Rutherford, Napa Valley

Rutherford, Napa Valley

2016 Chenin Blanc Rutherford, Napa Valley - Calder Wine Company
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Extended lees aging for the 2016 vintage really paid
off, with the wine developing a great balance between lemon-cream richness,
ripe nectarine fruit, chalky mineral flavors, and light floral notes. The
palate has Chenin’s distinctive chalky, beeswax texture that gives both
richness and backbone to the wine. High acid and low pH gives freshness and
energy to the flavors. Its unfiltered nature means that the wine throws quite a bit of sediment; I recommend chilling and decanting, or pouring carefully from the bottle. 


While even just 30 years ago Chenin Blanc was still quite
widely planted in Napa, at over 2,000 acres, the last few decades have been
hard on the grape—only 17 bearing acres were reported in 2016. However, as
closer attention is paid to the intricate soil differences in Napa, grapes like
Chenin occasionally 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.  



0.67 tons of Chenin were hand-harvested on August 11th,
2016. The fruit was tossed whole-cluster into the press, rotated for 20
minutes, and then allowed 3 hours of skin contact. Fermentation was in two
parts: one-third of the fruit was sent to 2 neutral oak barrels and given no
direct temperature control, finishing primary fermentation in 5 days; the other
third was sent to a stainless steel barrel and kept cold during its 13-day
fermentation. The 3 barrels were consolidated into the 2 neutral oak vessels
(preserving all lees from fermentation) and left to age, unstirred, for 10
months before being bottled unfiltered on July 7th, 2016.

Technical Information
  • Country
  • Region Napa Valley
  • Appellation Rutherford
  • Vineyard Galleron Vineyard
  • Soil Clay silt
  • Farming Method Organic, Dry-farmed
  • Alcohol 11.8%
  • PH 3.33
  • TA 0.693g/100mLs
  • Production 49 cases