You couldn’t get more unpopular than Chenin Blanc, which was definitely to Chenin Blanc’s advantage as their wines are unencumbered by tradition, with no change in their style. Thought to be a sibling of Sauvignon Blanc, Chenin Blanc wines can be sparkling, still, and even skin-contact orange wines. One of the world’s most versatile grapes, Chenin Blanc can range from sweet white wines to an everyday table wine. Known for its notes of yellow apple, pear, chamomile, and honey, Chenin Blanc can be paired with Thai food, especially sweet chili wings, coconut ginger chicken curry, and smoked salmon.
With a quarter of South African vineyards dedicated to Chenin Blanc grapes, South Africa produces Chenin Blanc wines that are ready-to-drink with emphasis on tropical fruits like guava and banana. South African producers have no admiration for Loire Valley producers as they consider Loire Chenin wines to be full of raw fruit and acidity. Loire Valley, known for its finesse and subtlety when it comes to Chenin Blanc, is the second largest producer of the grape. Styles range from sweet to dry wines with notes of apples, greengage, and minerals that mature to honey, acacia, and quince notes.
Delve into all things Chenin Blanc:
Grape Photo Courtesy of UC Davis