2018 was a comparatively late, cool growing season, and the fruit sat on the vines throughout August without, disconcertingly, much happening. That’s reflected in the lowest alcohol level of the three vintages. There’s an interesting aromatic top-note that’s reminiscent of what I call Sauvignon “botanicals”, and which leads me to jokingly refer to this as—if people will forgive the lèse-majesté—our Vatan vintage. It’s taut and tangy, with the least texture for now but a lot of length, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see it turn out to be the best of the three in six or seven years. Today, I like it best on day two; though admittedly that’s not a luxury that’s often afforded to a 28-dollar domestic Chenin Blanc.
- W.K., January 2021
"A View from the Cellar"
William Kelley’s 2018 Beau Rivage Chenin Blanc is even a touch cooler than his lovely 2017 version, as this year the wine comes in at a svelte 11.9 percent octane. Readers may recall that it is barrel-fermented and raised in older barrels for just under one year prior to bottling. The wine offers up a refined and promising nose of gooseberry, chalky soil tones, a touch of lanolin, white flowers, citrus peel and a touch of bee pollen in the upper register. On the palate the wine is crisp, tight and medium-full, with lovely soil signature, bright acids and lovely focus and grip on the nascently complex finish. Like all proper dry Chenins, this will need some bottle age to blossom from behind its girdle of acidity, but it will be a lovely wine when it opens up. Drink 2023-2035+.