Chenin Blanc is 100% one of our favourite grapes. It sits on the alternate grape fringes for most wine lovers, seemingly 'too cool' and a little mysterious for most. It is in reality a welcoming, chic and vibrant personality.
This green grape hails from the Loire Valley, with regions like Vouvray, Saumur, Savenniéres and Anjou all gaining fame for wines based on Chenin Blanc. The grape itself has naturally high acidity, lends itself to a huge array of styles and has a phenomenal ability to age. It is perhaps the most versatile grape.
Everything from crisp sparkling, fresh and aromatic dry, off-dry and full flavoured to decadent styles can be produced from Chenin Blanc. And all within one region given the right climatic opportunities.
Outside of France, California and South Africa both have more Chenin Blanc planted than the Loire itself. Though grown with higher yields in mind, the wines produced bare little resemblence to the stunning wines of the Loire. There are serious producers in South Africa like Radford Dale and Forrester both make exceptional options.
Winemakers in Australia have given Chenin Blanc renewed respect with many producers now creating stunning examples. Some of our favourites include; Castagna, Cullen, Dormilona, Rusden, L.A.S. Vino CBDB, South By South West and Geyer.
New Zealand seems poised to be an ideal climate for Chenin Blanc though few have attempted it let alone garnered much success. Millton in Gisborne remain the lead, although Dicey and Amisfield in Central Otago are certainly turning heads.
Best examples will be aromatic, expressive orchard fruit to tropical fruit aromas, high acidity, perhaps some biscuity notes and will satisfy Chardonnay and Riesling lovers alike.