” I just tasted with Raj at the winery. First of all, the Chenin is amazing – I was really impressed. Floored actually. It far exceeded my expectations and I wouldn’t be surprised if it turns out to be one of the finest white wines California has seen. “
In 2016 we harvested just enough fruit from the newly grafted vines to make 25 cases of wine.
We knew we had something special.
Now in 2017, the vineyard has continued to impress us as a compelling site for Chenin.
Our Partner in Combe, Rajat Parr doubts whether a lot of so-called Chenin Blanc in the New World is truly a genetic match to the Chenin of the Loire. Rajat believed the key to finding a noble strain of true Chenin was to take cuttings from vines that produced yellowed fruit once fully ripe. Rajat believes if Chenin is picked still green, the subsequent wine will never possess a rich, nuanced profile. A friend of Rajat provided us with our cuttings from an extremely old Chenin vineyard here in California. Those cuttings were grafted onto mature 22 year old roots.
In 2017 we were thrilled to see the fruit yellow as it reached ripeness. In pursuit of harvesting the fruit with maximum acid remaining, we picked in three separate passes. On September 1 we commenced picking only the yellow fruit, leaving the greener fruit to continue to color up. On September 5, we returned to harvest the fruit that yellowed over the hot weekend. Finally on September 7, we harvested the remaining fruit.
Luckily, La Cuadrilla is already accustomed to visually harvesting based on Color. With Roussanne, La Cuadrilla will make up to a dozen passes harvesting only “Rousse” or rust-colored grape clusters.
Chenin Chenin Chenin: 3 Chenins
The 2017 is broken down into 3 separate cuvees. The first release in July 2018, Combe Chenin Blanc, is a blend of all three harvests. Brian McClintic selected a few barrels to feature as a Cuvée Viticole in his Viticole Wine Club for release in early 2019. Rajat selected his favorite barrels for Combe “Cuvée August” that will be released in early 2019 as a reserve wine.