“Grandes Expressions de Chenin 2004”
at Le Rendez-Vous du Chenin in Loire Valley
Dry Chenin Blanc
Dry Creek Vineyard was the only U.S. winery awarded the
"Grandes Expressions de Chenin" in a recent Chenin Blanc competition
held in the Loire Valley, France. The winery took the honor with their
2003 Dry Chenin Blanc from Clarksburg, California. Of the 210 entries
tasted, 51 wines from four countries were selected as 'Great Expressions
of Chenin'. 33 of the award-winning wines came from the Loire, France,
16 from South Africa, one from Australia and one from the United States.
David Stare, founder of Dry Creek Vineyard, built his winery in 1972 precisely because of his experience in the Loire Valley. His admiration of the lovely qualities of Chenin Blanc caused him to emulate the crisp austere style from the very first vintage. “This is a fantastic acknowledgement that our wine is right there with the best in the world,” says Stare. “And, that it’s Bill Knuttel’s first as our new winemaker is outstanding. He should be very proud.”
The Rendez-Vous du Chenin took place from June 22 – 25, 2004, at the Royal Fontevraud Abbey in the Loire Valley. During the competition, the Loire again became the world capital of Chenin Blanc, which upon leaving, took up roots in most of the major wine producing countries. With 22,240 acres (9,000 ha) in the Loire, 54,360 (22,000) in South Africa, 1,235 (500) in Australia, 495 (200) in New Zealand, 8,895 (3,600) in Argentina and 19,770 (8,000) in the United States, Chenin Blanc plays an important role in the economies of these wine producing regions.
According to organizers, the Chenins tasted were from eight different countries including, France, South Africa, New Zealand, Australia, the United States, with entries from three new countries – India, Thailand and Mexico.
The wines were tasted by 53 international wine professionals, in panels of 35 tasters per day. Each wine was tasted between eight and twelve times and never in the same order within a flight, in order to be as objective as possible. This year’s panel (sommeliers, journalists, producers, wine writers and other members of the wine trade) was made up of tasters from twelve different nationalities – French, South African, American, English, Australian, Japanese, German, Swedish, Belgian, Swiss, Indian and Greek, which represents the main key wine markets around the world.
Founded in 1972 by David S. Stare, Dry Creek Vineyard is located in the heart of Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma County. The winery is known for producing some of California’s finest Fumé Blancs and Zinfandels. In addition to these “flagships,” Dry Creek Vineyard is also known for excellent Chenin Blanc, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Meritage and, starting with the 1997 vintage, Endeavour Cabernet. Dry Creek Vineyard owns over 200 acres of vineyard land, primarily in Dry Creek Valley and the Russian River Valley. Their wines are easy to recognize due to the spirited yacht paintings that appear on each bottle from Dry Creek Vineyard.