Chenin Blanc, Leo Steen Wines 2018, California, USA

Leo Hansen was born and raised in Denmark. The son of a hotel owner, Leo started working in the kitchen at the tender age of 12, rising to be one of the world’s top sommeliers by the late 1990s. He moved to California to dive into winemaking (working in the cellar in the day, and as a sommelier at night), and in 2004 founded Leo Steen Wines.

Somewhat conveniently, “Steen” is not only an old family name of winemaker Leo Hansen, but also the South African word for Chenin Blanc. From 38-year-old vines in the Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma, California, planted on sandy loam soils (on what was once a riverbed), these vines are dry farmed and the natural leaf canopies provide vital shelter against the summer heat, allowing the grapes to ripen slowly. 85% of the wine is aged in neutral French oak, with the remainder aged in concrete egg on its fine lees, to add texture and richness.


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