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What is Chenin Blanc?

Chenin Blanc is a dry wine variety that has been grown in the Loire Valley region of France for centuries. It’s most often used to produce light-bodied white wines, but can also be found in red wines, sparkling wines, and Ros├ęs.

The Chenin blanc grape is well-known for its ability to age well due to its high acidity content and low tannins, making it an excellent choice as a base for late harvest dessert wine, such as ice wine or botrytized dessert wines.

chenin blanc

About Chenin Blanc

Chenin blanc is known by many nicknames including “The Angel of Montlouis” after the town where it was first cultivated or “King of Wines” because it was served at the coronation of King Henry IV in 1589.

In 1638, Chenin blanc arrived in Virginia from England and is still cultivated there today where it’s often used to make sweet wines such as Vidal Blanc or semi-dry ciders that will age well for a decade or more.

Chenin blanc grapes are red-green in color and grow well on a cordon trellis or goblet-style grape training system.

Chenin Blanc is also called Steen, Pineau de la Loire, Melon d’Anjou, Quinault Lartigue and Rolle.

Chenin Blanc Flavors

Chenin Blanc wines are known for their crisp, clean flavors which include notes of green apple, pear, and peach, depending upon grape ripeness.

You can choose Chenin blanc wines that have been aged in oak barrels or stainless steel tanks depending on your preference. Chenin blanc can be found in both dry and sweet white wines.

Chenin Blanc Has a Wide Range of Flavors to Choose From

The flavor of Chenin Blanc as white wine is quite broad. One reason for this is the winemaking technique.

  • Dry: When grapes are fermented dry and kept fresh, they produce a very lean, minerally version of Chenin Blanc with notes of tart pear, quince, ginger, and chamomile.
  • Off-Dry: You’ll notice more ripe pear, ginger, jasmine, passion fruit, and honeycomb flavors in the wine as a result of the addition of a small amount of residual sugar.
  • Sweet: Chenin Blanc can be made into an intensely sweet wine by leaving the grape juice on the skins until it reaches a high level of ripeness and sugar, which results in rich flavors like baked pear cobbler or butterscotch pudding.
  • Sparkling: Sparkling wines can be dry (Brut) or sweet (Demi-Sec), with characteristics of quince, yellow apple, plum, ginger, and floral notes in the classic style of Chenin Blanc.

Chenin Blac Food Pairings

Chenin blanc wine can be paired with a variety of cheeses including cheddar, brie, and goat cheese. It is also compatible with white fish dishes like halibut or grouper as well as Asian cuisine.

It is typically considered an “everyday” white wine that pairs well with poultry, seafood, and creamy dishes such as casseroles or pasta. It can also be enjoyed on its own at the end of a meal paired with fruit tarts or desserts made with almonds or pecans.

chenin blanc

Chenin Blanc Regions

Chenin blanc wines are produced in France, South Africa, and California. The Chenin grape originated from the Loire Valley region of France where it is still widely grown today.

It is one of the main grapes in Vouvray and Montlouis wines.

Other Chenin blanc wine regions include South Africa, where it has been grown since 1655; California (where Chenin blanc was brought over by Franciscan missionaries), Washington state, Australia, and Italy.

The term “Chenin” is used to describe Chenin blanc wines from these regions as well as those made from Chenin grapes grown elsewhere.

In the United States, Chenin blanc has been called ‘white wine grape of choice’ by noted California winemaker Randall Grahm who produces a range of Chenin wines at his Bonny Doon Winery.

Chenin blanc wine is typically best consumed within two to five years of the vintage date listed on the bottle, although premium Chenin wine can be aged for longer periods.

Conclusion

Chenin Blanc wine is a versatile white wine that can be enjoyed young or aged. It has a crisp, acidic flavor that makes it perfect for pairing with food. There are many different Chenin Blanc wines to choose from, so finding the right one for you is easy. With its unique history and delicious flavor, Chenin Blanc wine is definitely worth trying! Thanks for reading my guide to Chenin Blanc wine. I hope you enjoy it. Cheers!

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