Learn about Chenin Blanc — taste profile, popular regions and more …
Unquestionably one of the most diverse grape varieties, Chenin Blanc can do it all. It shines in every style from bone dry to unctuously sweet, oaked or unoaked, still or sparkling and even as the base for fortified wines and spirits. Perhaps Chenin Blanc’s greatest asset is its ever-present acidity, maintained even under warm growing conditions. While most would agree it reigns supreme when from its birthplace of the Loire Valley, Chenin is the most planted variety in South Africa. California’s Clarksburg appellation is also winning more notoriety for Chenin.
Tasting Notes for Chenin Blanc
Chenin Blanc makes a white wine. Drier versions commonly have characteristics of passion fruit, lemon, quince, green apple, saffron and chamomile while sweeter version express aromas and flavors such as yellow pear, white peach, melon, ginger and honeysuckle. When aged in oak, qualities like meringue and brioche can be found. Sparkling versions often have apple, ginger and floral notes.
Perfect Food Pairings for Chenin Blanc
Cool-climate Chenin Blanc has the chalky acidity to work with light seafood such as oysters and shellfish. Off-dry styles work well with the sweet-and-sour nature of Thai and Vietnamese food. The sparkling versions such as Saumur Mousseux, Vouvray Petillant and Crémant de Loire make amazing aperitif options that won’t bruise the pocketbook.
Sommelier Secrets for Chenin Blanc
South Africa actually has double the amount of Chenin Blanc planted compared to France. It is believed that either the Dutch navigator, Jan van Riebeeck, brought the grape to Cape Town in 1655 or the Huguenots fleeing France brought it in 1685. Either way, the South Africans have favored it for many centuries and make it in almost every style. Today a new wave of dedicated producers has committed to restoring old Chenin vines and finding the most ideal new spots for this prized variety.
- Sauvignon Blanc273
- Pinot Gris/Grigio99
- Other White Blends45
- Gruner Veltliner26
- Chenin Blanc19
- Rhône White Blends9
- Bordeaux White Blends8
- Pinot Blanc8
- Other White Wine6
- Grenache Blanc4
- Melon de Bourgogne2
- Pedro Ximénez1
Ernie Els Big Easy Chenin Blanc 2016Chenin Blanc from South Africa
Joostenberg Die Agteros Chenin Blanc 2016Chenin Blanc from Paarl, South Africa
Tormentoso Chenin Blanc 2016Chenin Blanc from South Africa
Indaba Chenin Blanc 2016Chenin Blanc from South Africa
Joostenberg J. Chenin Blanc 2016Chenin Blanc from Paarl, South Africa
Ken Forrester Old Vine Reserve Chenin Blanc 2016Chenin Blanc from Stellenbosch, South Africa
The Royal Old Vine Steen Chenin Blanc 2016Chenin Blanc from South Africa
Chateau Gaudrelle Vouvray Clos le Vigneau 2016Chenin Blanc from Vouvray, Touraine, Loire, France
Astrolabe Wrekin Vineyard Chenin Blanc 2016Chenin Blanc from Marlborough, New Zealand
Birichino Jurassic Park Vineyard Old Vines Chenin Blanc 2016Chenin Blanc from Santa Ynez Valley, Santa Barbara, Central Coast, California
Mullineux Family Wines Kloof Street Chenin Blanc 2016Chenin Blanc from South Africa