Chenin Blanc, ‘Napa Valley’, Lang & Reed
A generation ago, the noble Chenin Blanc was the most widely planted white grape in the Napa Valley, almost double the acreage of Chardonnay. Today, there are a scant 14 acres that are in high demand by a new generation of winemakers, who seek to create something special from this unique varietal. For Lang & Reed, the inspiration remains the Loire Valley in France, where Chenin Blanc gained its fame.
The source for this bottling comes from the Oak Knoll District in the Napa Valley. The vineyard is located a stone’s throw from the Napa River, in an area noted for its cool climate and well drained soils.
The wines vinification is a collaborative effort between John and son, Reed. Reed has had his hand in making white wine on three continents – Sauvignon Blanc in New Zealand, Chardonnay in Napa Valley and Chenin Blanc in Chinon, France. For this wine, the grapes were whole-cluster pressed, left to settle for a day, and then transferred into 10 barrels, two of which were stainless steel and the remainder were seasoned French oak. Half of the barrels were inoculated with selected yeast strains, while the balances were allowed to ferment on the indigenous yeast. The lees were stirred (battonage) biweekly until February, one month before bottling. The final assemblage proved greater than any of the individual barrels.