Poor chenin blanc, everywhere it grows outside of its home turf it makes wine that’s only a dim shadow of the greatness it achieves in France’s Loire Valley. Every once in a while I’ve had some exciting American Chenin over the years, but everyone who was making it gave up in the face of market ignorance.
Those wines disappeared years ago and I had given up on American chenin, but while visiting the Hogue tasting room in Prosser Washington, I could not resist buying a bottle of their barrel fermented chenin. Now I wish I had bought a case.
The 2004 Hogue Terrior, Barrel Fermented Chenin Blanc, Andrews Vineyard, Columbia Valley is simply a stunning chenin blanc. Rich and complex with that unique continuation of mineraly dryness blended with honey and figs that makes this variety so compelling, this is an outstanding American chenin blanc. Matched with some gigantic King Crab legs, this was simply a wine to remember. While Hogue is mostly known for producing good, solid everyday wines, this is a far more elevated wine that is of such quality that it can seduce us into thinking that chenin may find a home in Washington.
Well, we can always hope.