AWC Blog

Seth’s Pick: Leo Steen Chenin Blanc ‘The Steen’ Jurassic Vineyard, Santa Ynez 2012

Leo Steen started his journey as a Sommelier and the ‘wine bug’ really took root on a wine-scouting trip to California. He decided to leave his native home in Denmark, move to California, and launched his wines in 2004. He wanted to make something other than the big 4 grape varietals and since mother’s maiden name (Steen) is what the South Africans call Chenin, the match seemed predestined. His approach is completely hands on, made by his own hands, using small lots of grapes, with little to no new oak, and produces fewer than 1000 cases.

This particular California Chenin is on the more serious side with an eye towards Savennières in the Loire.  Aged for three years in concrete, old oak barrels, and bottled prior to release. Jurassic Vineyard was planted in 1982, a high elevation site in Santa Ynez that gets its name from the fossil rich soils that Leo believes result in age worthy grapes.

This wine is so much about texture. Rich mouthfeel and thickness, flavors skew to layers of white tea, honeycomb, wet stone minerality, almond paste, nougat and yellow plum. On the palate, it is rich, supple and creamy, gliding to a long, satisfying finish.

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