Wente Vineyards ‘Estate Grown Cuvee’ – Chardonnay; Livermore Valley, California; 2020 

 March 1, 2022

By  rackhouse

Wente Vineyards is a California winery located in Livermore, about twenty miles east of the San Francisco Bay. It is one of the oldest family-owned wineries in the United States, and is best known for its Chardonnay, calling itself “California’s First Family of Chardonnay”. It also gives its name to a series of Chardonnay clones imported from France and propagated on site.

C.H. Wente came to the United States from Germany in 1883. After studying at Charles Krug in Napa Valley, he moved to Livermore to start his own winery and, before Prohibition hit in 1920, he had 80 hectares (200 acres) under vine.

After Prohibition, his sons Ernest and Herman took over the family business, and in 1936 released the first varietally labeled Chardonnay in California. In 1963, Wente expanded, purchasing 120 hectares (300 acres) in Arroyo Seco in Monterey, making it the first to plant vineyards in the now-prolific region.

Today, Wente is run by the fourth and fifth generations of the family. Wente makes a large range of wines divided into four different labels. The Estate Grown range includes several varietal wines made from classic Californian varieties like Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel, and Chardonnay.

As a propagation site of some of California’s first Chardonnay cuttings imported from France at the beginning of the 20th Century (and again in the 1990s), the Wente name is regularly encountered across the region’s Chardonnay producers. It is believed around 80 percent of all US Chardonnay can trace its origins to Wente.

This offering is crisp, lean flavors of melon, grapefruit, green apple, and pear are balanced by subtle hints of oak and vanilla from barrel aging. With a mouth-filling body, lingering minerality, and balanced acidity, this wine delivers a long, refreshing finish.

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