Chenin Blanc is one of the most versatile grapes in the world for producing wine. It is so due to the high acidic content of the grape which enables it to create wines of varying sweetness as well as sparkling wines and high quality blends. Interestingly, Chenin Blanc can also produce wines of great aging capacity, a rarity for white wine.
Born from the Loire valley in France, Chenin Blanc is also widely planted in South Africa (where it is known as Steen), California’s Central Valley (where it is often blended with Chardonnay in mass produced blends) and Australia. Its aroma and flavor will vary depending on where the grape is grown, but most often found are notes of honey and peaches in those from France and tropical fruit (such as guava, pineapple and banana) in those from South Africa and Australia. The harvesting time of Chenin Blanc grapes will also greatly impact its flavor from dry to very sweet.
…We’ll take a quick aside here to very briefly discuss Old World vs. New World winemaking as it will apply in this summary of Chenin Blanc. To define, Old World simply refers to wine that is produced in Europe where a long history of winemaking exists and New World refers to relatively new wine producing regions like the U.S., Australia, South Africa and South America. The phrases are utilized not to express a singular style of winemaking for each, but instead to point out the differences between the two in viticulture (basically, the study of growing grapes) and general winemaking philosophy. That being said….
Chenin Blanc has some very noted differences in Old World vs. New World winemaking specifically due to where it is grown and the resulting flavors. In France, it is used to make very high quality and premium wines. In the U.S. and South Africa it is heavily used in blends to contribute acidity and neutral flavors to other white wines. The fermentation temperature also varies from Old to New Worlds as Chenin Blanc is usually fermented at lower temperatures in New World wines in order to greater elicit tropical fruit flavors and aromas.
For food pairings, we recommend Chenin Blanc with salads, rice dishes, barbecued chicken or pork, sushi and seafood.
|Man Vintners Coastal Region 2008||$9|
$10 – 20
|The Winery Of Good Hope Stellenbosch 2008||$12|
|Raats Chenin Blanc 2007||$23|