St. Rey / Haarmeyer Wine Cellars Release - Chenin!

First let me add the caveat that I consider Craig a good friend(but I would never recommend wines made by a friend if they weren’t really good.).

For those of you who love Chenin Blanc, Craig Haarmeyer is putting out some stellar examples. In past vintages / releases he (along side his family) have put out a methode champenoise, pet-nat, stainless steel non-ml, neutral barrel, and an amazing own rooted, head trained 40yr + example from Aparicio Vineyard.

Pascaline Lapeltier called his Pet Nat one of the best if not the best Pet Nat she’s had outside of France and asked that he get some cases out to New York. Jon Bonne had him in his top winemakers to watch a couple of years ago as well.

Personally I’m partial to his Aparicio Chenin (very tiny production from just a few rows.) it is super interesting with classic lanolin, sheeps wool, and some oxidative funk. Without reservation I would say it’s the best CA Chenin I’ve had (and I’ve had a significant amount.)

He also makes fantastic, thought provoking Zinfandels, Syrahs, Rieslings, and more. His reds are on the prettier side of the grapes (if you value ripeness these probably aren’t in your style,) but still with the core fruit you’d want/expect.

The wines are well priced (I think he uses the same approach as his buddy, Tegan.) His current release to his mailing list has three wines all priced at $17/ btl. A young vine partial ML Chenin that used a combo of stainless, neutral barrel, and egg shaped tank. A 2016 whole cluster non ML Riesling from Wirz. And a 2015 skin contact full ML Riesling from Wirz. I haven’t had any of the new release wines so I can’t give any notes.

You can read more at if you are so inclined. But I’d say if you like the wines from Forlorn Hope you’d be into a lot of what Craig is doing.

Lots more I could write, but just wanted to pass along some info to the board.

Thanks for the info, Chris!!

Sounds really interesting, thanks for posting. But how do you sign up for the mailing list? I don’t see an option on the site.

And the wines that i do see currently listed for purchase on the site are different than what you mentioned…and at a much higher price point??

Yes, they still have wines from a prior release on the site. On the homepage towards the bottom there should be a field to enter an email address and sign up for the list.

Thanks Chris- got it!

So Chris…you were not lying brother, this is some damn good chenin!! Per your strong reco I connected with Craig (awesome dude and amazing customer service by the way), and ordered a nice smattering of CB.

Started with the entry-level 2016 SRV chenin which was really solid (especially for $17), but then I opened a 2015 Sutter Ranch and it was on a whole different level (not sure the official name…but pic below). Beautiful light straw color, and it smelled and tasted like you drizzled spring flowers in honey, rolled it in fresh wool, and kissed it with just a little bit of oak. Super fresh with a light/medium - body and a nice finish. Loved the texture here- just a real joy to drink.

Thanks again for the reco Chris. Color me a fan.

Awesome, Rich! Glad you liked it. That '15 looks to be from the same vineyard (Sutter Ranch) but the neutral barrel fermented version.

I went to Craig’s pickup party on May 13th and he had all of the current release wines open plus a few others and we did some barrel tasting. My notes are below.

2016 Wirz Riesling - very linear and focused riesling with good varietal character. would do well with a variety of foods from seafood, shell fish, to delicate slow cooked meats.

2016 SRV Chenin - exactly what i hope for in a summer quaffer. at $17 it’s a no brainer for a variety of uses. your geeky friends will immediately recognize the chenin character and your more casual friends will think it’s a good wine and ask you who makes it.

Pet-Nat - Craig was pouring the Pet-Nat and it was in the perfect spot. Absoulutely on point and probably the best U.S. Pet-Nat i’ve had. My wife normally gives me the stink eye when I buy more wine as we “have enough” but when I told her I wanted to buy a bottle she told me to get 2. At the time of the event he had a little more. I would recommned to anyone on this board to email Craig and see if he still has any he could sell you. I think it was between $30 and $33 / btl, which is on the high side for U.S. Pet-Nat, but it’s just really damn good.

2015 Wirz Riesling - this will not be for everyone. It is the complete opposite of the 2016, due to the skin contact. The wine is seriously weird. With skin contact, I always worry about acidity dropping out, but this had just the right amount to carry it. It showed some varietal character, but was on the more savory side showing some baking spices. I think this will be interesting to open in another 3 - 5 years but no idea how it will develop.

Mataro - don’t remember the vintage (2015?) I really dug this and think it will develop nicely in 5 - 8 years. The wine is 100% whole cluster with plenty of structure to do some time in the cellar. Great varietal character and with some air drinks beautifully now.

Highlights from barrel tasting:

  • Craig has a Rorick Vineyard Chenin in barrel that is on the edge. The pH is super low. If you like AFWE this is your wine. High acidity, citrus skin, but with varietal character. With the pH so low, i was worried it wouldn’t taste like Chenin and would be like licking a lemon, but the varietal character came through and it will be interesting to see the wine put on weight in the barrel.

*He also has a 2016 Fields Family Syrah in barrel. 100% whole cluster. As a northern rhone lover, this was right in my zone. Really excited for the release of this. Violets, olives, and structure. Should be killer to open in 5- 8 years and then follow for another 8 - 10.

Where, might I be so bold to ask, is the Mataro fruit sourced from?


Great notes Chris - appreciate it!

This should be the one