2019 Foxen Ernesto Wickenden Vineyard Chenin Blanc
In the Spring of 2017, I had the privilege of taking a trip to Santa Barbara County and its associated wine-growing regions. Not only did I come away with an understanding of why nobody would ever leave Santa Barbara (ocean, mountains, sunny all the time), but also with a greater appreciation of its wines and vineyards.
Now there is a lot happening in the region – new winemakers, new styles, new wines coming out all the time. But there was one particular old place that struck me, and not just me. It was an old vineyard that was almost universally honored in the Santa Maria Valley – the Ernesto Wickenden Chenin Blanc vineyard.
Planted in 1966 on sandy soils, this vineyard and its resulting wines are one of the best-kept secrets of Santa Barbara. Not a best-kept secret there, but a well-guarded secret from the wine-buying general public. You know what I mean: We’ve all had a favorite little treasure wine, one we love that represents great value, and that suddenly get “discovered” by restaurant somms and then we have to watch as its price blows up and its availability slows to a trickle. This wine has not yet been discovered, but I believe it will become one of your favorite treasures, soon.
Or as Antonio Galloni of Vinous puts it, “The Chenin Blanc Ernesto Wickenden Vineyard Old Vines is a dense, powerful wine that shows the more savory side of Chenin off to great effect. Dried flowers, herb, almonds and mineral inflections give the Chenin its super distinctive personality. There is plenty of texture and depth, but the fruit is pushed into the background. The Foxen Chenin is one of the most distinctive wines in Santa Barbara. It is also an insane value.”
I was blown away when I first tasted it, and I believe you will be too. We got a tiny allocation, so buy now, while you have the chance.