Category Archives: Chenin Blanc

Chenin Blanc
(SHEN-uhn Blahnk)

The best representation of the Chenin Blanc grape can be found in the Loire Valley of France – more specifically, the regions of Vouvray, Savennieres, Anjou and Samur. The versatility of the grape allows it to produce wines both dry and sweet, still and sparkling – and you can find all examples in the Loire. It’s found in South Africa as well, where it’s called Steen and is typically made in the dry style. It used to be a popular grape in California, but it’s late-ripening and the warm weather promoted over-cropping and the wine produced a neutral and bland product for many producers. Luckily, some California producers are fostering the grape for a comeback.

Notable Facts
Soils are often the defining factor of a Chenin style. In the Loire, the heavier, clay-based soils are best for fostering late ripening, sweet Chenin Blanc – the chalky, more limestone-based soils are responsible for many of the lighter, crisper styles of the grape. Sweet Chenin Blanc is sometimes affected by botrytis, the mold that creates the sweet wines of Sauternes. These wines are long lasting and like honey and nectar on the palate. The dry style of Chenin Blanc is a crisp, refreshing wine with citrus flavors offset by an almost creamy texture. Good Chenin Blancs are delightful wines, versatile with a wide range of food depending on their sweetness level.

Successful Wine Region:
Loire Valley, South Africa, some California

Common Descriptors:
honey, damp straw, green apple, floral, mineral

South Africa: New Land of Vines

MeerlustOn a continent that typically brings to mind dry, hot deserts and rainforest jungles, it’s easy to forget that there is also wine. But on the very southern tip of South Africa, vineyards thrive and produce a wide variety of grapes. Though the wines were slow to market due to the embargo on South Africa during apartheid,  the country has managed to solidify its presence as a quality wine producer over the past few decades. As a huge fan of South African wines, I wanted to share a few tips on what to try!

Reds are smokey-meaty:
This is a good thing — fire up the grill! Something about the land in South Africa brings out a gamey character in red wines, like bacon fat or smoked meat, especially in Syrah. Continue reading South Africa: New Land of Vines

3 Under-the-Radar Whites for Summer Sipping

While Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Grigio are sure to make an appearance at any summer picnic, party or happy hour, there are a few other summer whites that are sure to beat the heat and will let you venture out beyond your traditionally summer sippers.

Here are our top 3:

Continue reading 3 Under-the-Radar Whites for Summer Sipping