Chenin Blanc originates from the Loire Valley where it produces a host of renowned wines, ranging from super dry to voluptuously sweet.
Some of the best come from Vouvray, Saumur and Savennières, home to the Loire's most acclaimed wines. Here, Chenin Blanc is also used to craft quality sparkling and superbly long-lived, sweet wines. Such is its versatility and ability to age, that many wine lovers rank Chenin Blanc as the finest of all white grapes.
Chenin has been grown in South Africa for over 400 years, after cuttings were brought over by the Huguenots. Sometimes known as Steen, it is regarded as the signature Cape white variety.
Notes of apple, lanolin, white flowers and (with age) honey.
Wines to Try
Domaine Champalou Vouvray, White River, Bergsig Estate
Loire Valley, Stellenbosch, Paarl
Pineau de la Loire, Steen
- The grapes that make the sweetest Loire Chenin Blancs are affected by botrytis - the same 'noble rot' that gives Sauternes its distinct characteristics.
- Chenin Blanc is grown widely in the New World, where it typically produces a dry style that's laden with tropical fruit flavors.
- If you like Chenin Blanc, you might also like: Verdelho - similarly crisp, with vibrant, tropical fruit flavors. Colombard - a light, dry refreshing white grown widely in southwest France and South Africa.