White Wine on the Mind
When speaking with John Niven, his affection for white wine is quite tangible, “My whole groove is that I'm insanely passionate about white wine,” he explains and firmly believes that Edna Valley needs to be in the greater conversation about great white wine growing regions in the world. As the coolest climate AVA in the state, Edna Valley yields wines with high acid that are able to achieve ripeness thanks to the region’s proximity to the ocean and a long growing season. The soils in the area are a unique mix of oceanic and volcanic rock which add approachable minerality to the wines. Though Niven says the area has a lot to prove, it’s well on its way thanks to the enthusiasm of producers like him.
Niven’s grandfather was a pioneer of the Edna Valley wine region, planting his first vines in 1973 and establishing some of the area’s most sought after white wine grapes. Fast-forward to the early 2000s, Niven found himself helping shape the brand portfolio of his family’s wineries and developing a growing affinity to white wines. After the family sold off their brands, Niven was eager to continue his grandfather’s legacy and started Cadre wines which produces Albariño, Grüner Veltliner, and Savingnon Blanc from the Edna Valley region.
Outside of working with white wines, Niven loves to seek out native white wine varietals from regions of Italy, Spain, and France, citing that this treasure hunt often leads him to varietals only found in the hidden corners of these areas. “White wine is versatile,” Niven points out, “It really goes with everything. We enjoy cooking with spices, specifically curries, North African spices, and mexican flavors. White wine is a perfect compliment to these.”
As Edna Valley white wines continue to gain notoriety, Niven looks forward to continuing his personal journey to share just how special a place the Edna Valley is for white wine.
“I am excited about more out of the box varietals becoming mainstream.”