Chenin Blanc Vines

2012 Precedent "Old-Vine White" Wirz Vineyard, Cienega Valley, CA


Visiting the Wirz Vineyard for the first time was quite a rush. When I tell colleagues that I found a patch of 60+ years old, head trained, and dry farmed Riesling, planted in a bed of decomposed granite at just under 1,000 ft at the northern end of the Gabilan Mountains - they often give me a look of complete amazement. The Wirz Vineyard is as unique as it gets in California. Cienega Valley occupies the eastern flank of the Gabilan Range and is bordered by the Diablo Range to the east with the San Andreas Fault separating the two.

The climate is alpine-like, with warm sunny days and very cool evenings. The soil is decomposed granite underlaid with limestone. Drainage is superior and vine vigor is low. This is a later ripening vineyard, with hang-time often into late October or even November, even at the low yields that dry farming dictates.

Harvest was called for October 9 as flavors and phenological maturity were at peak; the pick came in at 21.8 B with a pH of 3.2.