2015 White Elephant
n. 1. A rare, expensive possession that is a financial burden to maintain. 2. An uncommon whitish or light-gray form of the Asia elephant, often regarded with special venerations. 3. A unique California white wine made from a blend of 58% Chenin Blanc, 32% Viognier and 10% Roussanne, which are barrel fermented in French Oak and aged Sur Lies for 9 months. Its cool climate pedigree stretches from Clarksburg, through San Benito to Santa Barbara County.
Medium straw color which is evidence of its careful French oak barrel fermentation. The aromas display tropical top notes from the Clarksburg Chenin Blanc such as mango and lychee, but then is backed by apricot and clove courtesy of the Paso Robles Viognier. The palate has a slight toasted oak note and then becomes slightly creamy while opening up with its ample acidity (again from the Clarksburg Chenin Blanc), but then shows the pear grit and pure minerality from the Paso Robles Roussanne. This complex blend was crafted to deliver a world class, food friendly wine and a new world tribute to the Loire Valley. California doesn't share the same terroir, but the non-traditional varietals we combine with the Chenin Blanc reminds us of the best of Vouvray.
The wine has a long and elegant finish and is ideal with fresh oysters on the half shell and pairs well with fresh cracked crab or crab cakes, grilled fish, sea scallops or chicken korma, a mildly spicy almond chicken curry (Indian), and goes nicely with grilled wild Salmon with sweet potatoes and baked organic asparagus.
90 points, “Editor’s Choice”
Wine Enthusiast, 11/17
Ripe peach, apricot and pear flavors are rich and unctuous, with toasted spice, vanilla bean and honeysuckle accents. Crisp acidity leads to a fresh finish. Chenin Blanc, Vigonier and Roussanne. Drink now. 500 cases made.—M.W.
Wine Enthusiast, October 1, 2009
"Bone dry, high in acidity and peppery, this white blend has flavors of citrus rind, water chestnuts, sweet bell peppers and vanilla. It’s an interesting interpretation of an everyday table wine. Chenin Blanc, Roussanne and Viognier." - S.H.
Wine Spectator, web only, 2009
"Elegant, light bodied and crisp, with citrus, apple and herbal tinges that have a refreshing tangy apricot finish. Chenin Blanc, Roussanne and Viognier. Drink now. 1,166 cases made". –MW
90 Points - Top 100 Best Buys
Wine Enthusiast, April 2006
"This offbeat blend of Clarksburg-grown Chenin Blanc, Stolpman Vineyard Roussanne from Santa Ynez Valley, and Central Coast Viognier is remarkable. As you might expect, its floral and fruity, but dry, with very high acidity, and a modest 13.5% alcohol. Its a clean, food-friendly wine with a great degree of complexity." - S.H. Best Buy
Top 100 Best Buys
Celebrate unusual varieties
San Francisco Chronicle, April 27, 2006
"Add some excitement to your wine-drinking life. Be daring. Pull the cork on a bottle of the 2004 Vinum Cellars White Elephant California White Table Wine ($14), a Chenin Blanc-Roussanne-Viognier blend made by Napa Valley winemakers Richard Bruno and Chris Condos. It's brisk and bright, with lemon-lime, ruby grapefruit and honey notes." - Linda Murphy, Chronicle Wine Editor