Chenin Blanc was once one of California’s most planted white grapes until the Chardonnay Onslaught of the 80s and 90s, with plantings steadily declining since then. What California lacks in quantity of Chenin, however, it seems to be making up for in quality. If you like this Chenin (and why wouldn’t you?) seek out other California examples, for if you buy, they will plant! Leo Steen Hansen is a Danish immigrant who was possibly the first of the new breed to spotlight Chenin in California, when he started his winery in 2004 based on Chenin Blanc. He has since been joined by many. Leo decided to use his middle name, Steen, for the winery as it is the common name for Chenin Blanc in South Africa. Being one of the world’s most acidic grapes is an asset when it is grown in warmer regions like Dry Creek Valley, and rare old-vine plantings like that at Saini Farms Vineyard, planted in 1981, self-regulate their yields, making characterful, elegant wines without much pruning or intervention in the winery. Leo ferments using native yeasts in concrete eggs and ages the wines in a combination of stainless steel and concrete egg. Pear, apple, grapefruit pith, oyster shells, fennel, chamomile and white flower notes are wound around the core of acidity and make a great pairing with fish and chicken, nutty cheeses and appetizers, but can shine all on its own.