Thirty grapes in thirty days: Chenin Blanc

Our first grape of the weekend is the wonderful white grape, Chenin Blanc. Tradition states that the Chenin Blanc is a french grape grown in Loire Valley. However, Connoisseurs around the world  would state that the home of the Chenin Blanc is South Africa. South Africa is now the largest producer of Chenin Blanc and they have added their own fresh take on the varietal by making it dry.

Many people who don’t like French Chenin Blanc would say the wine is too sweet and in many ways they’re right. When grown in France the grape is usually off dry (sweet), perhaps why South African Chenin Blanc is soaring past the French varietal in terms of popularity for most of the nation.

Chenin Blanc, also known as Steen in South Africa’ is a grape that is rapidly growing in popularity and is renowned for its versatility. It’s high acidity means it can be used to make all sorts of wines from sparkling to an elegant dessert wine. It is described as a white zesty wine that in our opinion pairs beautifully with Mediterranean seafood dishes and creamy risotto.

It is usually pale yellow in colour with delightful citrus notes such as Mandarin orange on the palate. It has a well balanced acidity on the finish and can sometimes be slightly oaked giving aromas of baked apple.

For an entry level Chenin that is bursting with zest try Cape Dreams Chenin Blanc.


by Rebekah Hilton

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