2014ChaloneChenin2014 Chalone Vineyard, Chenin Blanc, Estate Grown Heritage Vines, Chalone, Monterey County.
Chalone’s 2014 Heritage Vines Chenin is a true classic and a stunning dry white wine, it is intensely mineral driven, steely and chalky with tight citrus, white peach and a faint trace of dried honey. Without question this is one of the top Chenin Blancs in the new world, I bet this beauty with age 30 years! This wine is a throw back to some of the 1970’s Chalone wines that really put Monterey on the wine world map, this place oozes history and it has a real sense of terroir. The 2014 Chalone Chenin was crafted from old vines on ancient seabed soils by Chalone winemaker Robert Cook, it’s masterpiece of elegance and vivid detail. The unique limestone, granite and clay soils, cool nights, elevation in the Gavilan range near the Pinnacles and shear remoteness really show up in the details of Chalone’s wines, especially true in their limited production whites like this Chenin and in their Pinot Blanc, the rare offerings are worth searching out, I’ve been lucky in the past to try older vintages of them and they can be mind-blowing even at 15 or 20 years old, as is their Chardonnay, which has real similarities to Burgundy when aged. Chalone’s Chenin Blanc comes from a plot originally planted in 1919, just after WW1, it is old school head trained and is very small yielding which adds to the extract and vitality, it takes a bit of time to flesh out on the palate, but is serious stuff with lime, lemon, wet river stones, rosewater, quince and hints of tropical notes to go along with that core of white peach and crisp mineral essence. Look for beeswax, verbena and honeyed pear over the the next decade to unfold, but it’s thrilling and expressively vigorous now, it would be gorgeous with oysters, chèvre, white fish and or mussels in it’s youth. It was fermented in 60% neutral French barrels and 40% in stainless tank, then aged about 6 months in cask before bottling, it has hidden richness and is vibrantly fresh, this is simply rocking good dry Chenin!
($28 Est.) 92+ Points, grapelive

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