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by Fred McMillin
Win with Chenin
Chenin Blanc is a superstar in its native central Loire Valley of France.
In California, only a handful of producers take Chenin seriously...particularly distinctive is the Chenin from Clarksburg at the northern end of the San Joaquin Valley.
...The Oxford Companion to Wine
The Rest of the Story
So, how does a good Clarksburg compare with a good Loire? My panel tasted one of each blind. Conclusion: Although the California bottle cost only 40% of the French, the rating of the Clarksburg was a very respectable 90% of the Loire (which won Best White of the tasting). So save some money and drink this 90% of a superstar.
1997 Chenin Blanc, Clarksburg
Clarksburg, just south of Sacramento in Yolo County, was named after one Judge Clark who settled there as the Gold Rush was starting, 1849. It was made an official viticultural area in 1984. To gain such stature, an area must be distinct from the surrounding region. Clarksburg truly qualifies. It is some 2O feet below the Sacramento River, protected by levees. It has the only vineyards in California where one can look UP from the vines and see the sails of boats pass!
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