Tuesday, April 25, 2006

The thing with old vines...

As we were watching the Shiraz come in some white grapes were coming into the grape reception and the winemakers were talking about very old vines of Chenin that they usually put into Oak barrels and sell to famous names to sell under their own labels. Well, obviously we aren't exactly a famous name but if you don't ask you don't get. So, in a five minute conversation we doubled our order and took two tons. Chenin is a great grape that is capable of making anything from cheap and cheerful dry whites to incredibly sweet concentrated wines capable of aging for decades. We decided to buy one barrel to see what it was like with oak but after tasting the wine with no messing we decided to make the rest of it as simply as possible.
The thing with old vines is that they produce fewer grapes but what they do produce is much more concentrated as the vine's roots push deep into the soil to reach nutrients and sources of moisture. Sadly many producers are pulling up old vine Chenin to replace them with Chardonnay and Sauvignon which is losing something unique and irreplacable.