Heller Estate, Carmel Valley (California) Chenin Blanc 2006

Chenin blanc is a notorious underachiever in California. It's used in lots of generic jug blends, and even when allowed to stand on its own as an identified varietal, often yields sappy, sweet, unbalanced wines. Only a handful of vintners treat it with respect. Heller Estate in Monterey County's Carmel Valley is one of them, and this 2006 chenin tastes delicious. It does not display the subtle minerality that distinguishes the finest French renditions from the Loire Valley, but instead tastes like a summer fruit salad in a glass. Juicy and fresh, its flavors echo melons, peaches, pears, citrus, and more. It should complement many Asian-inspired fusion dishes nicely.