Norgard 2016 — Chenin Blanc
A Wine That
encapsulates how serious Chenin Blanc can be. This is America meets the Loire in its most subtle way. Spend some time with it: pop the cork and pour a glass while you're sitting on the sofa with a good book and notice how it evolves over time. A little like when you start cooking and slowly add ingredients, this wine appears more saline after a minute, then after two minutes almond peel and acacia appears. There is an almost birch-like sappiness to it, and its granular texture makes it almost a meal in itself. We'll tell you one thing - there'll be another glass poured...
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- Delivery: Delivery and gift wrapping options available at checkout.
- Winemaker: Jaimee Motley
Where & How?
Norgard Vineyard is located in the southeastern hills of Ukiah in Mendocino. Tim Norgard is a third-generation farmer (his grandfather came to Mendocino in the 1890s) who started farming here in 1971. The soils are a beautiful dusty, Pinole gravelly loam. The vines were planted in 1980 and lie at just 210m above sea level.
The grapes were pressed whole cluster and fermented naturally. After having being aged in barrel for 15 months at the end of 2018, Jaimee completely fell in love with this wine. She had decided to try to age it in barrel on the lees for over a year, to hopefully add another textural dimension to the wine and to heighten aromatics, and we can confirm it worked! It was bottled after another three months, so 18 months in total, unfiltered and unfined, with the tiniest sprinkle of sulphur (under 20ppm total).
Jaimee grew up in her family's restaurant in Maryland, on the East Coast of USA. She moved to California to pursue her love of painting at university, with the aim of becoming a college professor one day. She was living in San Francisco, and while figuring out her career options, she worked back on the floor in a restaurant. While working as a server at the famed RN74 restaurant under the tutelage of Rajat Parr, she started to bury herself in wine books, meeting winemakers who would visit the restaurant.
She remembers, "I just fell in love with the idea of wine. I'd always loved being outside, and working with my hands, that tactile element. You find that in the winemaking environment too."
She was encountering wines that were pretty "out of the box," especially for the time back then. This is where she came across the rare Savoyard grape variety, Mondeuse.
"The vibrancy and complexity of the Mondeuse wines... I just connected with them immediately. They also weren't expensive, so I could somewhat afford them! It became a pure obsession and I would hunt down every bottle I could find."
She began working harvest in 2011, doing four days of harvest, and three nights at the restaurant. She decided that winemaking was the path for her, and so did the "Southern/Northern Hemispehere Harvest Hopping" to learn as much as she could with various winemakers across the globe. She eventually became assistant winemaker to Pax Mahle in Sebastopol, one of the godfathers of the lighter and gentler style of winemaking in California. When she had the chance to start her own label, and managed to find Mondeuse, and her other love - Chenin Blanc, in California, it was her dream come true.
Here it is; the inaugural vintage. We hope you fall just as much in love with these wines as we did when we first tasted them.