Chenin Blanc is far from what anyone would consider a Big Wine in the U.S. right now, but that hasn’t kept the Clarksburg Wine Company from releasing not one, not two, but three takes on the grape, a standby of the Loire Valley in France. Based in the Old Sugar Mill in Clarksburg, near Sacramento, California, Clarksburg’s facility is home to lots of wineries and, apparently, lots of weddings.
Here’s how Clarksburg’s three Chenin Blancs stack up, whether you’re getting hitched or not.
2010 Clarksburg Wine Company Chenin Blanc – Fresh and lively, with plenty of apple and citrus. Some buttery character, but not heavy like a Chardonnay. Great balance and very easy to drink. Food friendly to a fault. A- / $16
2010 Clarksburg Wine Company Chenin Blanc VS – The VS means “Vouvray Style” (unlike the other wines in this roundup, this one is aged in oak for 8 months; the others are fully finished in steel) and this Chenin Blanc is full of lemon character, tons of acid, and aromatics. Herbal characters on the nose, with fresh thyme and rosemary notes. A bit metallic. B+ / $24
2010 Clarksburg Wine Company Chenin Blanc Viognier – A blend of 85% Chenin Blanc and 15% Viognier. The addition of a bit of Viognier gives this wine more tropical notes, but together they express more of a sweet honey character. The aromatics linger beneath and behind. Good show. A- / $16