2015CasaNuestraChenin2015 Casa Nuestra, Dry Chenin Blanc, Saint Helena, Napa Valley.
One of the last remaining secrets of Napa Valley, Casa Nuestra’s gloriously brisk and vibrant dry Chenin, a wine that defies perceptions and shows old Napa still exists! Gene Kirkham’s Casa Nuestra is a must visit winery, nestled in Saint Helena’s east side on the Silverado Trail, this is not the modern Napa mansion of castle, this is an old rustic farm house with a unique charm and eccentric flourish with goats and sheep near their tree shaded patio and a 50’s and 60’s vibe in the tasting room with odes to Elvis and memorabilia from Kirkland’s career as a civil rights lawyer, this is a fun visit and the wines are unique and vastly different than you’ll find at the neighbors! Kirkham’s love of Loire grapes, Chenin Blanc and Cabernet Franc has even led him to be honored by the Knight’s of Chinon, and these wines are usually the wines that sell out fast, Casa Nuestra sells only direct to their wine club and list and what little is left sells in the tasting room. I try to visit every year to score the Chenin Blanc, though timing is very important, so I was thrilled to see it available when I visited this August, and found the 2015 vintage to buy and taste! As well as that, they just so happened to have a open bottle of their 1989 to sample, which considering the wet year and age was remarkably fresh and lovely though showing a graceful maturity and it’s fading decay with class. This was a special experience, and while the old wine intrigued, the latest release thrilled with focus and clarity, bone dry, dusty and mineral edged the 2015 Casa Nuestra Chenin Blanc is still ripe and has medium weight on the palate with citrus layers, peach notes and crunchy wet stones along with hints of bees wax, verbena, unsweet honey and wild herbs. Steely lemon/lime and orange blossom persist along with a loamy earthy quality in this fine and well crafted effort, this is a wine to enjoy in every stage, it pleases with it’s refreshing almost bitter crisp youthfulness, but you can already sense it with age and be fun in a decade or more, in California Chenin Blanc is seeing a revival and you’ll see awesome examples from top wineries hitting the shelfs soon, look for Sandlands, Littorai, Pax and Broc Cellars in particular, but also search out old time classics like Chalone, Daniel Gehrs, Chappellet and certainly this Casa Nuestra!
($40 Est.) 92 Points, grapelive

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