By Lettie Teague
Certain grapes have fallen out of favor in this country, and none more precipitously than Chenin Blanc. Once one of the most prolific varieties (most often blended in jug wines ), Chenin Blanc – the noble grape of the Loire Valley of France — is rarely found on labels of domestic wines anymore. There are a few happy exceptions, of course. There are two that I particularly love: the Chenin Blanc from L’Ecole 41 in Washington State (a perennial favorite) and the Chenin Blanc of Paumanok Vineyards on Long Island’s North Fork.
And as of this week, I’ve added a third: the 2010 Ernesto Wickenden Old Vines Chenin Blanc from Foxen Winery in Santa Barbara.
I found the Foxen in Los Olivos, California where it was a featured wine by the glass at the Los Olivos Café and Wine Merchant. Bright and lively, with notes of pear and a long, clean minerally finish, the Foxen was a lovely discovery and an excellent buy (only $18).
Alas there’s not much around. According to Foxen, just over 1,000 cases were produced. Fellow Chenin lovers might want to act soon.
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