Chenin Blanc

Chenin Blanc

Surely the most chameleon-like of vine varieties. Most wine drinkers encounter Chenin Blanc on the labels of very cheap, sometimes slightly sweetened, everyday varietals from California (usually Central Valley) or South Africa where it is the most planted vine. In these relatively hot wine-producing environments, Chenin Blanc’s ability to hang on to its natural grape acidity is highly prized, and stops these inexpensive, usually rather bland wines tasting flabby.

In its homeland in the middle Loire, Chenin Blanc is also marked by its high acid, which is not necessarily a virtue in cooler years, but gives dry and medium dry (Sec and Demi Sec) white wines from here a much longer life than most. Damp straw, flowers, something vaguely honeyed are the usual distinguishing features.

Chenin Blanc comes into its own, however, in exceptional Loire vintages when seriously high sugars develop in the grapes, particularly when they are concentrated by noble rot. A Vouvray or the best Coteaux du Layon can be an absolute mar­vel of honey, lime and toast which can continue to improve in bottle for decades.

An increasing number of producers in South Africa, New Zealand and California are taking Chenin Blanc seriously for it can also make at­tractively assertive, full-bodied dry wines if the site is right and yields are restricted. It is widely distributed and its reliable acid level is valued as an ingredient in sparkling wines such as Blanquette de Limoux and those of South America, notably Argentina.

16 Item(s)

  1. MAN Family Wines 'Free-Run Steen' Chenin Blanc

    It's bursting with flavour, and is a mouth-watering Chenin Blanc with intense tropical fruit flavours offset by a vibrant acidity. Learn More

  2. Ken Forrester Reserve Chenin Blanc Stellenbosch

    Classy Chenin Blanc with a great weight of ripe fruit, delicious. Learn More

  3. Chardonnay, FRAM

    Stone fruit and a fresh yellow citrus alongside cereal notes. All backed by a lively crispness Learn More

  4. Vouvray Sec, Sylvain Gaudron

    Typical hints of honey and fresh hay, with chalky minerality. Learn More

  5. Anjou Blanc Les Grés, Domaine de Brizé

    A  deliciously fresh and vibrant wine with lively green apple notes and white flower aromas. Great complexity and minerality from a fantstic Loire producer

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  6. Bodegas Santa Ana Brut

    Delicate style, with fresh stone fruit flavours and a 'Champagney' feel Learn More

  7. Ken Forrester Petit Chenin Blanc

    Supple and spicy Chenin Blanc with a steely edge. Terrific value. Learn More

  8. Domaine de Brizé Saumur Brut

    A real favourite for those wanting Champagne style at half the price. Learn More

  9. Vouvray Demi-Sec, Sylvain Gaudron

    Typical hints of honey and fresh hay, with chalky minerality. Learn More

  10. Chenin Blanc, FRAM

    The tight racy acidity is the standout characteristic of Chenin blanc from this area, combine that with ripeness that adds immense complexity and you know that there is a whole lot of loving here.

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  11. Cave de Saumur Blanc La Cabriole

    Aromas of honey and honeysuckle can be found on the nose, on the palate it is light, dry and crisp, with well balanced acidity and a long lingering finish of quince, melon and honeydew. Learn More

  12. Ken Forrester T Noble Late Harvest, Stellenbosch (37.5cl)

    Made in tiny quantities in good years, this has the right balance between sweetness and acidity. Learn More

  13. Domaine Didier Champalou, Vouvray Sec

    High quality Vouvray showing good fruit on the nose with complex, honeyed palate and dry finish. Learn More

  14. Pithon-Paillé Coteaux des Treilles, Anjou

    A seriously impressive wine, from the cradle of Chenin Blanc, with breathtaking tension between tangy acidity, bright 'mineralité' and luscious honeyed ripeness with fabulous complexity. Learn More

  15. Ken Forrester FMC Chenin Blanc

    From the ‘King of Chenin’ Ken Forrester FMC, this flagship wine is rich, seductive, and very sophisticated. Learn More

  16. Les 4 Vents Coteau du Layon, Pithon Paille

    Delicious aromas and taste of glazed fruits, pears and subtle notes of quince, with a fresh and vibrant finish.

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