Tenbrink Vineyards owners Linda and Steve Tenbrink came to Suisun (pronounced Sue-Soon) Valley in 1982 and established a home and made a living as farmers. Arriving with no experience, they now have about 60 acres in walnuts, heirloom tomatoes and various fruit trees. In 2006, they embarked in yet another venture into unchartered waters to make wine. Fortunately, with their friend and winemaker Abe Schoener acting as a mentor, they launch Tenbrink Vineyards. Years later, their daughter Lisa Tenbrink (and now Lisa Tenbrink Howard) and her husband Cliff launched in 2015 Tolenas Winery.
The name Tolenas has a significant history. The “upper valley” area where some of the vineyards are located was once part of the original Rancho Tolenas, part of the Mexican Land Grant incorporating a good portion of Napa and Sonoma Counties. A historical marker near their homestead denotes this information.
You can read more about the winery and wines by clicking on this link:
The Wine – 2018 Tenbrink Chardonnay
(Photo ©Michael Kelly)
Pulled this wine to have a glass at lunch with fresh tuna sashimi which was delicious from Ohana Seafood. I was told years ago one should always have a beer, whisky or wine with fresh uncooked sashimi. Saved the balance to have with dinner (see below).
When I first tasted this wine in January 2019, I immediately rated it as one of the Best of Year Wines Tasted, just on the nose alone without even tasting it. I can’t recall giving a “score” to any wine before tasting it! When I first sipped the wine it was inspirational. The pale straw coloring provided an array of honeysuckle, pear and apple on the nose and later on the palate. It had a touch of citrus on the finish and was clearly going to be a winner! All the kudos for this wine still ring true! It made my Best Wines Tasted in 2021. I am so pleased I continued to purchase this wine. Still a tremendous bargain today at $32 retail price for the 2021 release.
The Food and Wine Pairing
(Photo ©Michael Kelly)
Paired this evening with a blackened Swordfish served over long grain and wild rice. Accompanied with a chopped Asian cabbage salad with a light dressing. Picked up the fresh Swordfish in Modesto at Ohana Seafood. When plated the fish was drizzled with Steward & Jasper Orchards Apricot Pepper Sauce that I recently purchased. What a wonderfully delicious combination of spices from the blackened Swordfish, the tangy sauce and the full body coating in the palate of the Chardonnay. Definitely a “perfect 10” on the pairing combination! This wine will make The Best Wines Tasted in 2023!