Mon 12 May 2008
Like a zephyr on a perfect afternoon, the Heller Estate Chenin Blanc 2007, Carmel Valley, is supremely attractive and refreshing. The grapes, 89% chenin blanc and 11% riesling, come from the property’s strictly organic vineyards. The wine is a pale straw color. The bouquet — and that’s the correct word — wreathes lemon balm and lime peel with lemongrass, dried thyme and tarragon, camellia and jasmine; a few minutes in the glass bring up hints of almond and almond blossom. Acid is as tart as a schoolmarm’s tongue, yet the wine sports a lovely texture, soft and almost talc-like while remaining spare and elegant. Flavors of spiced peach and pear, with a touch of lime, lead to a trace of grapefruit bitterness on the zesty finish. This is way too good to waste on aperitif duties — though even aperitif wine should be good; try it with a classic like trout amandine or with shrimp dredged in Southwestern spices and kissed by heat and hickory smoke from the grill.
Excellent. About $25.