2019 Leo Steen "The Steen" Chenin Blanc Mendocino, California, USA

Mineral scented nose, followed by beeswax, lemon oil and mint. On the palate, an almost architectural streak of acidity adds poise and length to flavors of almond paste, dried herbs, marzipan all of which carry through to a long, complex and creamy finish in an oxidative style.



This wine underwent a few hours of skin contact before being whole cluster pressed and fermented in a concrete egg, using spontaneous yeast. To spotlight the age-worthy complexity of Jurassic’s fruit, this wine spent 11 months in a concrete egg before being transferred to neutral oak for five more months prior to bottling. To allow the wine ample time to evolve and integrate, it was given an additional twelve months of bottle aging.


Having caught the wine bug, Leo came to the United States in 1999 to check out the food and wine scene, and never went back! He migrated to the Sonoma wine country, and soon got a job as a waiter and sommelier and ultimately a wine buyer at the wine-centric Dry Creek Kitchen and Cyrus restaurants in Healdsburg. He later began working at Stuhmuller winery in the Alexander Valley, and started making a bit of his own wine, at the Stuhlmuller facilities, in 2004. From his years as a buyer, he noticed there was a decided lack of food-friendly, energetic wines from California. So, it was fitting that the centerpiece of Leo’s winemaking efforts was a bone-dry Chenin Blanc. Steen is also his family’s middle name and it is the South African word for Chenin Blanc. Leo has long been fascinated by this sleek and elegant varietal, and sought out the oldest Chenin Blanc vines in Dry Creek Valley to work with. In 2006, he made his first vintage of Chenin from the Saini Farm Vineyard which was planted in 1981. The vineyard is dry farmed and situated on an old riverbed. The stony soils help to give a nice mineral underpinning.


Grape(s) Chenin Blanc
Farming Sustainable