Chenin Blanc: The Enigma

Learn About Chenin Blanc

You are a mélange of personality, Chenin Blanc, making it difficult to pinpoint your disposition with ease. Bone-dry or exceptionally sweet. Still and sometimes sparkling. There are times when you can be a simple, straightforward wine with subtle fruit. And others where you are a flavor bomb with aromas not even relative to fruits, flowers, herbs or spices. For that, Chenin Blanc, you are an enigma to even the most acquainted wine lover.

Your kind of wine variety is not widely produced but your popularity precedes you in the Loire Valley and at one time you were renowned over Chardonnay in California. That doesn’t mean you’ve lost ground in the world of wine. Chardonnay just has a certain likeability befitting of a wine for beginners and you are a little too mysterious for the uninitiated.

There is a hint of sweetness to you, Chenin Blanc, but in fact you have very little sugar on the palate. If one were to offer you a little residual sugar, your subtle fruitiness would burst forth most pronounced. In your dryer moments you can be quite complex and make a dramatic last harvest dessert wine.

You are a cool weather climate sort of wine grape, Chenin Blanc. And your high extract levels and searing acidity make you dreamily mouth filling, even young. With age, your astringency drops and you mature into that complex aromatic bouquet you are best known for.

Hardy is a word best to describe your vine; disease-resistant, high-yielding, late-ripening, wind-tolerant, what other hyphenated words can I throw at you. You love your chalk soils and porous tufa. Highly regarded in France, especially in the Loire Valley, you have been a native of Mt Chenin since the early 9th century. But you have superceded your legend there, Chenin Blanc, by high production acreage in South Africa where you are known as Steen.

You can live an extended life, Chenin Blanc. It is not uncommon for you to reach ages over 100 years, yet it is rare to find such a character in a wine as most can’t wait for you to reach your prime. But should one chance upon your venerable grace one would find a wine most interesting and complex.

Varietal Styles

    with Residual Sugar
  • Stone Fruits: Apple, Pear
  • Melon
  • Apricot
  • Slight Honey
  • Crème Fraîche
  • Nutty, Lactic
  • Hazelnut, Wheat Berries
  • Straw Flowers
  • Toasted Brioche
  • Buttermilk

Grape Styles
Lemon | Pear | Melon | Apple | Orange Peel | Apricot | Crème Fraîche | Clotted Cream | Sour Cream | Buttermilk | Plain Yogurt | Oatmeal | Toasted Almond | Marzipan | Straw | Flowers | Hazelnut | Toasted Bread | Ripe Grain

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