Desparada 2018 "Kleio" Chenin Blanc, Paso Robles Highlands AVA, California, USA - DECANTsf

Desparada 2018 "Kleio" Chenin Blanc, Paso Robles Highlands AVA, California, USA

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  • Winemaker: Valia Esh
  • Farming: SIP Certified Sustainable
  • Varieties: 100% Chenin Blanc 
  • Terroir: Shell Creek Vineyard. The Chenin vines were planted in 1972 on a gentle hill side beneath limestone cliffs in the Paso Robles Highlands AVA. Soil is alluvium overlaying a layer of marine limestone.  The vineyard gets it's name from the layers of marine fossils in the hillsides, as well as the seasonal creek that runs the length of the canyon where the vineyard is located.
  • Vinification: Native yeast fermentation. All neutral barrels (French and acacia) for fermentation and aging (about 6 months). Frequent bâttonage (lees stirring) added mouthfeel.  A tiny amount of sulphur was added before bottling. 
  • Alcohol: 11.4% 
  • Tasting Notes: The seashell minerality in this sustainably-farmed Chenin is densely backed by bruised quince, kumquats, lime blossom and hints of beeswax. The bright acidity mingles with nutty notes of raw almonds and white sesame seeds, making this bottle a great candidate for shellfish and poultry pairings.

Featured in our Explorer Wine Club, November 2020:

"Vailia Esh, owner and proprietor of Desparada, is not your typical winemaker: a California native, Vailia was raised around the country as an army brat and straight-A student. From a young age, she chose to live life on the open road to soak up the experiences of life.  It was on this grand journey that she was drawn to the vineyards of the Central Coast and started Desparada almost as a grand experiment. Ultimately, she has proven herself a deft winemaker, worked at wineries and vineyards all over the world, and became a true student of viticulture and oenology. 

It’s so important to Vaila not to become complacent or follow a formulaic dogma when producing her wines. At its pinnacle, her winemaking is about respect for the fruit the vintage gives her. After that, she becomes more experimental, sometimes fermenting grapes from a  single pick in 5 or 6 different vessels just to see what will happen. At the end, she might blend, or she might not, but what’s important to her is capturing something new from the place and site. It’s truly a daring and unusual approach in an area that is known for expensive land and (very often) cookie cutter wines. Hence the name, “Desparada,” which in Spanish, is the feminine iteration of ‘outlaw’, which is how Vailia feels she’s approached her winemaking.

Finally, the labels. Each label in Desparada’s lineup focuses on blending feminine and masculine auras to underscore the idea of nonconformity and juxtaposition in her wines. We encourage you to pay her a visit or check out more of her wines, because each bottle is a work of art in its own right, inside and out!"

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