Ep 267: Leo Hansen of Leo Steen Wines, The Dane who Mastered California Chenin Blanc
Release Date: 03/11/2019
Originally from Denmark where he grew up as the son of a chef and hotelier in the happiest country in the world, Leo Hansen started in the hospitality world at the ripe old age of 12 and hasn’t stopped since.
First he was a certified European sommelier working for a Michelin starred restaurant and that brought him to the US where he immersed himself in the world of New World winemaking. In 2004 he started Leo Steen Wines, which concentrates on divine Chenin Blanc (AKA Steen in South Africa, but ironically a family name as well!) but also makes Cab Franc, Chardonnay, and Grenache.
He has been in California for 20 years but he maintains a European palate and focuses on traditional European winemaking techniques like foot treading, natural yeasts, lower alcohols and less new oak. He’s the perfect balance of professional winemaker and sommelier and a fascinating guy all around.
And a few show notes:
- Leo tells us about his early life as a the son of a chef and hotelier, including some notes about Danish cuisine!
- We learn about Leo\'s career path, especially his time at Kong Hans in Copenhagen, a Michelin Starred Restaurant
- We discuss the difference in sommelier culture in Denmark v. the US
- Leo takes us through his journey from a harvest worker at Clos du Bois to owner of Leo Steen.
- Finally, we discuss his specific philosophies and wines and why site is so important to his wine.
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