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The Chenin Blanc Grape

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About Chenin Blanc

(Synonyms: Anjou, Blanc d'Aunis, Capbreton blanc, Confort, Coue Fort, Cruchinet, Cugnette, Feher Chenin, Franc blanc, Franche, Gout Fort, Luarskoe, Pineau d'Anjou, Pineau de Briollay, Pineau de la Loire, Pineau de Savennières, Pineau Gros, Pineau Gros de Vouvray, Pineau Nantais, Plant de Brézé (archaic), Plant de Salces, Plant de Salles, Plant du Clair de Lune, Quefort, Rajoulin, Rouchalin, Rougelin, Steen (South Africa), Stein, Tête de Crabe, Vaalblaar Stein, Verdurant, Blanc d'Anjou, Gros Chenin, Gros Pinot Blanc de la Loire, Plant d'Anjou, Gamet blanc)


Chenin Blanc grapes Map showing the Loire region

Chenin Blanc is a white-wine grape originating in the Loire Valley of France. It is a famously high-acid grape, and can make wines suitable for very extended bottle aging. It is now extensively grown in other areas, notably South Africa (where the grape and wine are called "Steen") but also including the U.S. It is generally considered one of the dozen and a half or so of world-class white-wine grapes (those in boldface in the varietals list to the left of the page).

Chenin Blanc is, like another world-class white grape, Chardonnay, basically neutral in taste, and thus when well-vinified excels in conveying terroir, distinctive qualities that reflect the soil and climate in which the grapes were grown.

If Chenin Blanc vines are grown in a warm climate and encouraged, they will be immensely productive—but productive of bland, low-quality grapes. If, on the other hand, they are well restrained, they yield much less but on superb quality. For that reason, in earlier times, especially in the U.S., Chenin Blanc was widely grown to make vast qualtities of cheap, rather awful jug wine, and thus acquired here an apparently unshakeable reputation as a trivial, useless grape and wine. Yet in its home, it is recognized as making some of the world's very greatest wines. Little by very little, some awareness of that is now dripping into the American wine consciousness.

Chenin Blanc can be made in numerous ways; it is often used to make excellent dessert wines, but we will restrict our attention to Chenin Blancs vinified dry for table-wine use. But, though we say "dry", there are as with, for example, Rieslings) degrees of "table-wine dry". In cool areas, the grape is sweet but high in acid and with a full-bodied, fruity palate, unless it fails to fully ripen, in which case it will be low in sugar and excessivly acid. (Nowadays, less-ripe grapes are made into sparkling wines such as Crémant de Loire.)

Descriptions of the nature of Chenin Blanc often include minerality, greengages, angelica (herb), and honey, as well as apple and quince. In the New World, where the wines are not expected to be aged much if at all, vinification tends to bring out tropical fruit notes such as banana, guava, pear, and pineapple.

In the Vouvray region, the grape is made into a like-named wine, Vouvray. Vouvrays, even the driest, tend toward accenting the honeyed aspect of the grape, even when they are not technically sweet at all. Vouvrays come is five classes:

  • Sec: dry - though with natural floral, honeyed flavor
  • Tendre: off-dry - more residual sugar than sec, but still relatively dry
  • Demi-sec: semi-sweet - without being heavy or syrupy
  • Moelleux: sweet
  • Pétillant: sparkling

Another French style is that of the Anjou region, where the wines are said to have more the flavors of quince and apples. And there is also Savennières Chenin, for which the tradition is aging in acacia or chestnut barrels.

Savennières wines are probably the highest fully dry expression of Chenin Blanc, but one needs to understand their idiosyncracies. To quote one recent reviewer):

I think the dichotomy among reviews is based on reviewers' expectations of Savennieres. True, it is Chenin Blanc, but it's not Vouvray or Anjou or Montlouis. Savenniere, IMHO, just isn't as friendly when young as the other Loire Chenin Blanc appellations. . . No, you are not going to get a nice pow of tropical fruit to go with your acidity. This is not a Huet Vouvray and it's not a Chidaine Montlouis. But that's what's so beautiful about Chenin Blanc: There is no hiding between terroir and glass. What nature puts into the vineyard is what you get out.

Some Savennières producers recommend aerating their wines for as much as 48 hours before serving them. That's probably extreme, especially for young bottles, but bottle age brings up another point: as another reviewer said, most Savennieres is almost undrinkable without considerable age, like 20 years. Or drink them very young before they shut down around year 5. That is so because, like not a few ageworthy wines, Chenin Blancs experience what is commonly called a "dumb period"; to quote the WineAnorak column,

A wine that is closed is, in simple terms, one that doesn't smell much. Many fine wines go through a 'closed' or 'dumb' period as part of their development, a period that may last for some years. Typically a wine destined for long life will show well for a couple of years and then close down for some 5-10 years, before developing the tertiary bouquet that is so highly prized in geek circles.

So pay attention to the vintage year of any Savennières you are contemplating buying and drinking soon after.

Factoid: dessert-style Chenin Blancs are said to be able to take a full century of bottle aging.

Some Descriptions of Chenin Blanc Wines

  • Wikipedia

    "The aromas and flavor notes of Chenin blanc often include the descriptors of minerally, greengage, angelica and honey. Chenin wines produced from noble rot will often have notes of peaches and honey that develop into barley sugar, marzipan, and quince as they age. Dry or semi-sweet Chenin blanc from the Loire will often have notes apple, greengage, and chalky minerals that develop into more honey, acacia, and quince aromas. New World styles of Chenin, such as those of South Africa, are more often made to be consume young and exhibit rich tropical fruit notes such as banana, guava, pear, and pineapple. The alcohol level for dessert styles Chenin rarely goes above 12%, which keeps the wines more in balance. Drier styles of Chenin are more likely to be around 13.5%."

  • Lettie Teague, The Wall Street Journal

    "Chenin Blanc is extremely versatile and can be produced in a wide range of styles, from bone dry to rather sweet. In that way, it could be said to resemble Riesling, another quite flexible grape. (It's also the source of some nice sparkling wines, particularly from the Vouvray region of the Loire.) The wines vary from neutral and thin with high acidity (particularly when the grape is over cropped) to minerally, even chalky, with the intensity and longevity of a great Chablis. The aromas of Chenin range from spicy to citrusy to floral and even tropical, depending on the place where it's grown as well as the viticultural and vinification techniques."

  • Wine Folly

    "Chenin Blanc has a wide range of flavors. Part of the reason for this has a lot to do with the winemaking style. Winemakers in the original growing region for Chenin Blanc in France stop the fermentation before all the sugar is used up. This technique has some benefits: it reduces the resulting alcohol level, makes the wine sweet and increases the wines' ability to be aged. The Quarts de Chaume AOC in the Loire is famous for some of the sweetest and longest lived Chenin Blancs in the world. . . . Chenin Blanc is also available dry. If you're buying French Chenin Blanc, look for the words Sec on the label. If you buy a South African Chenin Blanc, you'll find the more affordable versions are produced in a zesty dry style, whereas the higher quality versions are slightly oaked (and a tiny bit sweet).

  • Professional Friends of Wine

    "Careful viticultural practices to reduce crop size and prevent sunburn can overcome chenin blanc's weaknesses and reward the effort with distinctive and excellent wines. Nearly all the truly memorable Chenin Blancs are French, from Saumur and Savennières (very dry), Anjou and Vouvray (off-dry), Coteaux du Layon and Quarts de Chaume (dessert), and Crémant de Loire (sparkling). No matter the style, a certain floral, honeyed character, along with zesty acidity are the sensory trademarks of well-made Chenin Blanc. When conditions are right, Botrytis cinerea adds additional complexity and intensity."

  • Jancis Robinson

    "A truly great Chenin Blanc is typically a Moelleux, the product of a hazy autumn on the schists of the Loire which encourages noble rot and results in a toasty golden wine that has all of the complexity of any botrytised wine but with the Chenin grapes' particular layers of molten honey and crisp, dancing acidity. . . . Bonnezeaux, Coteaux de l'Aubance, Coteaux du Layon, Montlouis, Quarts de Chaume and, especially, Vouvray are all likely appellations for [Moelleux], with Vouvray and Quarts de Chaume producing some of the most intense examples. On the other hand, Vouvray is such a large and varied appellation that the name can also be found on bottles of extremely lacklustre wines whose only attributes are a certain sweetness and a certain acidity and nothing in the middle to knit them together. . . . But there are fine dry (Sec) Loire Chenin Blancs too, most famously Savennières, a tiny appellation famous for making stern whites that can take a decade to be approachable but have so much mineral extract that they can make great partners for quite flavourful foods. Jasnières and Anjou are both names that can be found on bottles of serious dry Chenin Blanc too (although Anjou is another very varied appellation)."

  • Forgotten Grapes

    "Chenin Blancs may be the ultimate sweet-and-sour wine, as they tend to lead with sharp, crisp, acidic flavors primarily in the form of citrus fruits: pineapple, Meyer lemon, even something akin to watermelon rind. But those sour flavors are undercut with a delicate honeyed sweetness. You may get some spicy flavors of cinnamon and pepper on your tongue and you might also get a big mouthful of smoke, which is often the by-product of the wine aging in the charred lining of newer oak barrels, which some producers use to temper the acidity of the wine. This oaking can also lead to a creaminess in the mouth, as malolactic fermentation converts the more sour malic acids into softer, creamier lactic acids."

Some Chenin Blancs to Try

(About this list.)

We will restrict ourselves here to the dry, table-wine sorts of Chenin Blanc. We will include a couple of examples each of South African Steen, of Vouvray, of Savennières, and of American Chenin.

The quotations below are excerpts; we strenuously urge you to click on the green diamond symbol by each quoted review to see the full article.
  • Ken Forrester Petit Chenin, $8 - $16. (Forrester makes several Chenins; this is the "entry-level" Petit Chenin.)

    Some quotations and facts:

    [This wine] is a good entry point for those exploring South African character of the grape. A pure yellow color in the glass the nose is an interesting melon with floral notes, good enough to delay tasting, but don't hesitate to long, this wine is best before "warming" in the glass. The flavor is a sour apple, winery tasting notes call it quince, combined with pear that lies pleasantly on the tongue with a round sensation in the mouth. There is a little bit of green herbal backdrop on the ending with a subtle acidity leading to a fairly short finish. . . [T]his wine needs to be consumed in short order. . . [it] has little life a few hours after opening.

    This entry level Chenin Blanc from South Africa is consistently a very nice offering. The 2012 is pale yellow colored and opens with a fragrant pear and pineapple like bouquet with a hint of banana. On the palate, this wine is medium bodied, crisp and acidic. The flavor profile is a mineral infused Anjou pear with hints of green apple, white pepper, and tangerine. The finish is dry sand very refreshing.

    Pale, bright yellow. High-toned aromas of mint and lime, with hints of honey and resin. Supple and bright, with attractive citrus fruit flavor complicated by a note of nutmeg. Not the last word in intensity or grip, but very easy to drink–and always a splendid value.

    Shows delightful floral, heather, candied lime peel and quince notes on a bright, unadorned frame.

    The 2009 wasn't as light as I remember the 2010 being, but it still had lots of steely minerality and tart green apple fruit. And, for those of you who are concerned about these things, it wasn't sweet at all.

    It's crisp and refreshing, but has a little bit of a bite to it being a wine with a higher alcohol content. (13.5%… you've been warned!) It's almost got a little bit of effervescence to it and a very fresh, herbaceous taste to it. It's not overtly fruity, but reminded me a little of a crispy Granny Smith apple.

    This Stellenbosch of light gold with bouquet of vanilla and cream sickle (faint orange sherbet) in a sweet pronounced nose that is really very nice. Palate--good acid, lemon rind with sour orange, light pink grapefruit, off dry and good example of a Chenin.

    The quince, green apple, and ripe melon flavors of this South African import are best enjoyed with salty summer favorites.

    Vibrant, showing green plum, green almond and pear skin notes that display a juicy, vigorous feel through the medium-weight finish.

  • A. A. Badenhorst Secateurs Chenin Blanc, $11 - $20.

    Some quotations and facts:

    Tree fruits dominate this wine, including mealy apple, spiced pear, and quince jam. The ripe and cooked qualities contribute to a hint of sweetness, but the wine finishes dry due to the refreshing acidity and undertones of citrus. Hints of lanolin and petrol are markers for Chenin Blanc and show the typicity of this wine. Lees aging adds a creamy texture. The style is waxy, broad, and unctuous, but stays in balance with a mineral finish. 89 points

    [O]ffers peachy fruit salad and spice aromas enlivened by a hint of grapefruit pith. This rich, silky, fairly full chenin conveys a slightly sweet impression nicely leavened by harmonious acidity. Its dry finish features hints of ripe stone fruits and quince.

    ♣ Wine Advocate (date unknown), 92 points

    The 2012 Secateurs Chenin Blanc has a light but pure bouquet with lemon peel, grapefruit and hints of wet wool. The palate is crisp and vibrant on the entry with touches of lanolin and litchi nuts. This is so well balanced – uncomplicated but delicious.

    Full-bodied yet discreet and inviting, with herbal, floral and citrus flavors. "Best Value".

    Fleshy nectarine hints nose. Pineapple and lemon rind, flavours, with a bit of honey. Sherbet. Fresh, clean. 3/5

    This wine is 100% Chenin Blanc sourced from old vines, a good deal of which are 50 years old. The fruit is harvested over 12 days which is added daily to the already fermenting fruit in concrete tank and older French oak casks. It is then aged for seven months on the gross lees. Alcohol 13.5%. The color is a light yellow-straw. The light nose reminds me of yellow citrus and indigenous yeast aromas. In the mouth the citrus flavors are fresh with moderately creamy mouthfeel, yeast notes, and ripe, gravelly flavors. With air this medium to full-bodied wine reveals spices and yellow fruit all delivered with a honied mouthfeel.

    [O]ffers orange blossom aromas and citrusy flavors.

    [W]ould certainly have a strong case for sporting the best quality-to-price ratio of chenin that I tasted in South Africa. It's from vines planted in the 1960s, hand-harvested, fermented over 20 days and left on the lees for seven months. The resulting wine has the honeyed notes of chenin and surprising complexity for an entry-level wine.

  • Saget Peres et Fils Vouvray, $10 - $14. (Do not confuse this with the Guy Saget winery's offerings, though they are good, too.)

    Some quotations and facts:

    Whoa Nellie, this is the outstanding buy of the week. This is a dry white that will knock your socks off with pear skin and ginger and green melon slices.

    This is soft, slightly sweet Chenin Blanc. It has honey, a herbal character and flavors of cranberries. With its soft texture, this is a wine that is ready to drink—rounded yet with plenty of acidity at the end. 87 points.

    ♣ Wine Spectator (date unknown), 90

    Sports green almond, pear and fig notes, with a frame of melon rind and a floral edge chiming in on the finish. Holds to a dry style overall. 89

    The color is a pale yellow. Nose, Apple, melon, and lemon. Taste, A crisp blend of apple, honey, melon, and pear. Light to medium bodied with a semi-dry mouth feel and a tart finish. Rating: Whether counting sips or stars, you can bet your astronomy I'd give it a: 3.75 out of 5 stars

  • Domaine des Aubuisieres Vouvray Cuvee de Silex, $17 - $20. (Domaine des Aubuisieres makes several Vouvrays; this is the Cuvee de Silex.)

    Some quotations and facts:

    In epic proportions, the wow factor comes into play from olfactory senses to palette pleasures; mineral and white peach dance from the glass leading to a lime and green apple sensation that is clean, sophisticated, round and complex with a medium-long finish. Refreshing and elegant.

    Of late, no wine that I've uncorked has elicited more praise than [this one]. . . [A] consistently delicious chenin blanc that also happens to be one of the best values on the market today. While nominally dry, the Silex has just enough residual sugar to be described as sec tendre, a term applied to wines that straddle the line between dry and off-dry. But the perception of sweetness is more than offset by the ample minerality and acidity that this cuvée typically shows. . . [It] has a terrific nose marked by lemon, apple, honey, and chalk aromas, along with a winsome floral note. Full-bodied and rich, the wine shows a touch of sweetness in the mouth, but it is leavened by an enthralling minerality that completely coats the palate and carries through the long, refreshing finish. A superb Vouvray. A-

    ♣ Wine Advocate: 2008, 92; 2009, 91, 2010, 90.

    Fresh green melon, white ginger and green almond notes glide along, with finely beaded acidity carrying the floral-tinged finish. Pretty.

    Smoky and savory with a waxy texture and earthy mineral flavors.

    The 2011 Domaine des Aubuisieres Vouvray Cuvee de Silex was more dry and acidic than the other wines of the evening. Cuvee de Silex is a blend of chenin blanc from three different vineyards, each are composed of silex, a flint and sand based soil. This was a glass of muddled green apple with lime juice to flesh it out. There were interesting nuances of baking spice on the palate, specifically the finish, that balanced the fruit nicely. There was minerality on the palate, the flint coming through from the terroir, or earth. Another $16-18 wine that a number of other wine writers found favorable too.

    Pale straw in color, with inviting aromas of white peaches, lychee fruit & limes. Here is a brightly flavored Vouvray displaying flavors of green apples, pears, green fig and mineral-scented chalk. Despite being fairly dry and crisp, there is a noticeable "honeyed" quality to this wine, which is characteristic of a well-made Vouvray.

    Extremely nutty aromas. Usually a good sign. Fairly typical fruit flavours; stewed apple, stonefruit and green pear. Not an immoderate expression of Chenin Blanc. Has a bit of celery and parsley hanging around. Suggestions of honey but no more than that. Soft-ish mouthfeel. Ok length, chalky minerality, dry finish. Fair price for what's on offer and could possibly rate a point higher. Scratches an itch. 88, Good.

    Silex is a flint-and-sand-based soil type found primarily in the Loire Valley. It's formed from a mixture of clay, limestone and silica and it gives the Chenin Blanc grape a special flavour in Vouvray. Pale straw in colour, this wine has a nose of quince and honey. It's medium-bodied with a minerally pear flavour, clean with a honeycomb wax finish. 3.5/5

  • Domaine des Baumard Savennières, $15 - $25. (Baumard makes several Savennières; this is the one marketed as simply "Domaine des Baumard", being none of the "Clos St Yves", the "Clos du Papillon", or the "Trie Spéciale".)

    Some quotations and facts:

    Pale. Make that pale gold. The first whiff is of fresh rain, but that opens up to add beeswax and pungent floral notes. The body's there but not obtrusive, the flavor smacks of beeswax with a hint of honey. The acidity's lively enough to hold the alcohol in check. . . It could easily age further in the cellar. Verdict: Thrill

    [H]as strong citrus and mineral flavors and slightly bitter greenish fruit notes as well...an essence of Savennières.

    ♣ Wine Spectator (May 2007), 91 points.

    This is still tight [2004 vintage in 2007], but shows piercing intensity to the lime, mineral, quince and pear flavors. The long, stony finish really reverberates. Could use a little time.

    Steely acidity and popping apple notes give way to cool chalk and ripe apricot and just a hint of forest fire: a complex and beautiful wine that will develop over the next five years. If a marble fireplace was edible, it would taste like this.

    Always very good, sometimes great, the 2005 is the latter. Rich, luscious, nutty, creamy . . . its texture and flavor profile reminds me of a rich, minerally Chardonnay. This is not the most common comparison, but the hazelnut/toffee flavor and creamy texture makes the comparison fair. And tasty!

    ♣ [I]t was everything I wanted it to be. . . worth the Savennières's lover's attention.

    Light lemon, the intriguing nose reminded me of wet tree bark, fresh lime, and a little minerality. With time in the glass, goat's cheese also came out and I have experienced this with other Chenin's from France. Dense and a touch alcoholic, this slightly spicy wine makes its interesting personality felt along a good length on the palate. Drinking now, but I bet it will develop well over another 5-10 years. 88/100.

    Very nicely made Savennieres, clean and full, with quinces and mineral flavors. For this appellation, very reasonably priced.

    Quite pretty and with air this continued to expand with the almost Riesling-like fruit showing itself with hints of petrol. In fact, this kept changing and a new nuance showed its face with each swirl with earthy truffle aromas coming in later. The mouth here is rich and powerful with rocks and honey and a very mineral, etched finish. Deep and long yet never heavy. . . Everyone else at the table thought it was Riesling, maybe Alsatian. This is really the quality price ratio winner of the evening.

  • Domaine FL Savennières Château Chamboureau, $17 - $22. (Note that vintages of this wine prior to 2007 were made by different hands; only 2007 and on are relevant for this one.)

    Some quotations and facts:

    A single site wine from vineyards around the Château de Chamboreau, organically grown and hand-harvested with 3 passes through the vineyards, the first being for the dry wines. Fermentation is with natural yeasts, they do no malolactic and the wine is aged in oak for 16-18 months – 20% new. The 2008 offered an incredible mix of complex, pithy marmalade and mineral characters with high apricot-like acidity and a long crisp finish – it probably needs a little time [as of 2012]. I loved its purity though – 92/100 points. The 2007 was much, much more approachable, seeming quite rounded and fat with almost a creamy quality but with a wonderful cut of acidity and pure minerality together with a note of dried stone fruit that dominates the finish – complex and fascinating - 90.5/100 points.

    The first two wines came from Domaine FL – two vintages of the same wine – 2008 and 2007 Chamboureau. Both 100% Chenin Blanc (as all Savennières is), the wines were full without being rich with lovely herbal, mineral notes, and even with just one extra year of age, the 07 was already more intense and integrated. [written circa 2012]

    The Savennières Chamboureau, from the more restrained 2008 vintage, was spotted as a fine, elegant wine but was simply too young and tight to go on a list at the moment [2011].

    A beautiful Loire Valley Chenin Blanc with elegant fruit and great vibrancy, which offers an off-dry option.

  • Hestia Cellars Chenin Blanc, $13 - $16. (Apparently retailed mainly by Total Wine outlets.)

    Some quotations and facts:

    This is a delightful Chenin (a highly underrated varietal). It offers an enticing nose of Asian pear, peach, lilac and honeysuckle with a hint of fennel. The white fruit flavors are well extracted, with undertones of wet stone and peach pit that extend into a ripe, dry finish that shows tones of orange peel and almonds on a faintly honeyed yet dry finish. 18+/20 points.

    Nose: A very clean-smelling Chenin Blanc that exhibits really nice aromas of kiwi, mango, key-lime and some nice minerality. Taste: Tastes as clean as it smells with all of that nice tropical fruit and minerality goodness coming through on the palate. Love the dry character to this wine and its ability to pair well with food. Rating: 90%

    ♣ Wine Enthusiast (date unknown), 92.

    Rating: * (Excellent) Abundant, ripe Asian pear aromas along with lemon rind and white grapefruit. Palate is crisp and lemony with mouthwatering acidity. Fermented and aged in stainless steel. 13.0% alcohol.

    Sourced from the Columbia Valley, this is a well-balanced mineral and steel-based wine set off by subtle, subtle pineapple and nectarine fruit. There's a hint of maple, baking spices and creme brulee that really comes through as the wine warms just slightly.

    [T]his is a dry chenin blanc, but not bone dry. It also tastes of pineapple and honey but has more citrus notes than [another wine]. However, I didn't find it quite as lively and crisp. The Hestia has a 13 percent alcohol level and a dense, syrupy mouthfeel.

    Chenin Blanc is a classic cheese wine and Hestia Cellar's version is a great example of why – high acid, bit of fruit and great white wine finish.

    A cool and slow fermentation helps this wine develop its lovely, soft mouthfeel with melon, peach and floral notes. Good acidity with balancing white grapefruit and apple freshness makes this an excellent wine with shellfish.

    Add Hestia to the short list of Washington wineries making exceptional Chenin Blanc. Concentrated fruit flavors conjure up a smorgasbord of candied citrus—orange peel, grapefruit and lemon drops. Succulent and dense, this evolves through the finish, bringing in floral and honey overtones. 92 points.

    If it's a white you desire (assuming there is any inventory left), try Hestia's lively, citrus-packed chenin blanc. Perhaps you'll wonder, as I did, why we don't see this French-derived grape more often in Washington.

  • Clarksburg Wine Company Clarksburg Chenin Blanc, $16. (At retail apparently only direct from the winery. This is the standard CB, not their "VS".)

    Some quotations and facts:

    In the glass the wine was light, being a pale yellow in color. On the nose I picked up apple and floral notes, but they were both subtle. In the mouth the wine was crisp, with good notes of citrus and acid, though the acid wasn’t overwhelming, which was nice. On the finish there was minerality and a nice crispness that I enjoyed quite a bit.

    Fresh and lively, with plenty of apple and citrus. Some buttery character, but not heavy like a Chardonnay. Great balance and very easy to drink. Food friendly to a fault. A-

    We enjoyed this selection with a grilled chicken salad and on its own. This ‘stainless’ selection is 100% Chenin Blanc and offers bright and fresh green apple, citrus blossom, and pear aromas accented by floral notes that extend through to the [lean] palate with snappy acidity and a lively citrus finish. This is a nice and refreshing bottle of wine that’s food friendly and won’t break the bank.

    It shows lemon zest, white peach and grassy notes on the nose. Creamy palate with flavors of honey, green melon and lime. Some nice crispness to this wine, with notes of quinine and minerals. Good stuff that maintains some of the freshness and verve I seek in Chenin Blanc. (87 points)

    Creamier and more elegant [than a Viognier], it has flavors of peaches, ripe pear, slate minerality, and toasted walnuts with a tart, lime rind finish that lasts for minutes. Excellent food wine but can also stand on its own pretty well.

    Firm floral aromas with a delicate, fresh melon touch lead to a surprising mouthful of wine. This is not a dainty wine like the California chenin blancs of years ago. It has a beautiful balance of acidity and fruit with a nice backbone. The fruit flavors linger, making it a perfect wine for a lunch entrée or a simple grilled fish.

    ♣ 2013 Sunset International Wine Competition: Silver medal

    Clarksburg is becoming a haven for Chenin Blanc in California. This bottling, using fruit sourced from several vineyards in the area, is balanced with just a trace of sweetness in the background (1% residual sugar). This is crisp, straightforward and blessed with notes of pear and lime.

For a Splurge

There are many possibilities, but a first-rank Vouvray seems as good a choice as any. The two principal houses are Huet and Foreau. Here—since this is a splurge choice—we suggest a Domaine du Clos Naudin, Philippe Foreau Vouvray Demi Sec. (The sec is reportedly excellent as well, but somewhat less immediately approachable.) Of the 2008, WineBerserkers wrote:

Showing as brilliantly as it did last month. This is a special wine that's so alive and invigorating. Vivacious structure with wonderful purity and focus to the fruit. Lots of quince, kumquat and citrus flavors with a keen mineral streak. The ginger note is also here and it's really become apparent that it's a unique character to Foreau's wines as you just don't see it as prevalently in Huet's wines, just down the block. Wonderful stuff. A/A-.

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owl logo This site is one of The Owlcroft Company family of web sites. Please click on the link (or the owl) to see a menu of our other diverse user-friendly, helpful sites.       Pair Networks logo Like all our sites, this one is hosted at the highly regarded Pair Networks, whom we strongly recommend. We invite you to click on the Pair link (or their logo) for more information on getting your site or sites hosted on a first-class service.
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