Marty Winters & Alex Pitts
Maître de Chai
Kierkegaard Chenin Blanc 2019
Chenin blanc, with its amplified minerality, may be the closest thing the wine world has to existential despair. But as we know, from sorrow springs the most exquisite kind of beauty. This notion is not lost on Alex and Marty, winemakers and co-owners of Maitre de Chai, who named their Chenin Blanc after Søren Kierkegaard, the Danish father of existentialism, who called melancholy “the most faithful mistress I have known.” Alex and Marty source their fruit from Saini Vineyard, a two-acre block of dry-farmed Chenin Blanc in Sonoma’s Dry Creek Valley, planted in 1981. The wine was fermented with native yeast and aged in neutral oak barrels for 11 months. Minimal Sulfur additions at bottling.
Considering the tight relationship between food and wine, it’s surprising how few chefs make the leap from kitchens to cellars. But on the rare occasion that it does happen, the results are about as amazing as you’d expect. Take Maître de Chai, founded in 2012 by longtime friends Marty Winters and Alex Pitts. After working in some of California’s top kitchens — including Cyrus, Quince, and the French Laundry — the two former chefs decided to trade in their Crocs for Blundstones and make a life in wine. Today, Alex and Marty are joined by their respective partners — Stephanie Pitts (all things web) and Jessica Force (creative director, tasting room) — who have helped grow Maître de Chai into one of the most dynamic indie wineries in California. Their calling card is an uncompromising commitment to sourcing only the highest quality, organically farmed fruit — a carryover from Alex and Marty’s ingredient-driven ethos as chefs.
Maître de Chai