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2015 Birichino, Jurassic Vineyard Old Vines Chenin Blanc, Santa Ynez Valley

Jeff Degner, CSW | Certified Sommelier, Court of Master Sommeliers

Birichino has only been around for 10 years but they have made a very reputable name in that short period of time.  Alex Krause and John Locke decided early on through their wine making all around the world that they would focus on those varietals that they loved and not necessarily the popular ones planted in California.  They are known for their big reds like Grenache, Mourvedre and Cinsault but I have always loved their Chenin Blanc.  Chenin Blanc is mostly known to come from the Loire Valley of France and in South Africa but winemakers in California have been playing with this varietal since the early 1900’s.  In fact, in the 1980s there was more Chenin Blanc planted in California than in France.  Eventually most wineries replaced Chenin Blanc with the more popular Chardonnay grape.  Chenin Blanc was planted in the Jurassic Vineyard in 1978 which made these vines 37 years old when they were harvested.  Because of the age the vines they will produce less fruit but what they do produce is very high quality.  Generally, they harvest enough for 9 barrels or around 216 cases so this is wine is allocated for their wine club.  I was able to procure a few cases of the 2015 vintage, which is outstanding!

Some Chenin Blancs can be on the sweeter side but this is a dry style.  There are notes of lemon and pear on the nose with a nice crisp, mineral finish.  You can sit outside and enjoy this wine while finishing your summer novel and nibbling on a light snack.

 

 

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2015 Birichino, Jurassic Vineyard Old Vines Chenin Blanc, Santa Ynez Valley

Country

United States

Region

Santa Barbara County

Alcohol Percentage

13%

Aging Container

2/3 stainless steel and 1/3 neutral French oak barrels for 5 months

Soil

Calcareous Soil

Service Temperature

52° F

Drinking Window

Now thru 2022

Pairing

Raw Oysters

Fruit

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Body

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Earth

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Tannin

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Acid

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Critical Acclaim

Wine Enthusiast

90

Very light on the nose, this bottling from 37-year-old vines shows squeezed lemon wedge, chilled Asian pear, hints of jicama and white rose petals on the nose. The citrusy palate is driven by a grapefruit pith flavor and enhanced with a touch of chalk. The texture is compellingly grippy.

Decanter

93

Made from old vines planted on a vineyard site where dinosaur bones have been found, located at an altitude of over 300 meters where the vines benefit from day time fog and cool nights. With natural yeasts, ageing sur lie and maturation in neutral barrels, this Chenin Blanc has mineral notes on the nose, a smooth palate and a dry, stony finish.