What is Chenin Blanc?

Chenin Blanc is a highly versatile white grape variety native to the Loire Valley, France, where it is prized for its ability to make still, sparkling, off-dry and sweet wines.

What does Chenin Blanc taste like?

Chenin Blanc combines bright acidity with apple and pear fruit flavours. More complex examples can take on a honeyed character with notes of quince or damp hay. The style that can range from bone dry to intensely sweet. Outside the Loire, the most common source of Chenin Blanc is South Africa, whose examples are nearly always dry, tending to be rounder and riper, with flavours of melon and beeswax.

Where is Chenin Blanc from?

Chenin Blanc is native to the Loire Valley, France, and is thought to have been cultivated around the town of Angers since at least the 9th century AD before moving west to Vouvray. Chenin Blanc also has a long history in South Africa, where it is believed to have been first planted in 1655.

Where does Chenin Blanc grow?

Chenin Blanc is the main white grape variety of the Loire’s Anjou region, although it is also the signature variety of Vouvray further east and Saumur, where the grape is often used to make sparkling Crémant de Loire. Chenin Blanc is the most widely planted grape variety in South Africa, although historically much of this has been distilled to make brandy. California also has significant plantings of Chenin Blanc, although most of the grapes are used for cheap, bulk wine production.

Famous Chenin Blanc regions:

  • Loire, France
  • Stellenbosch, South Africa
  • Swartland, South Africa

Anything else?

Chenin Blanc also goes by the name of Pineau in its native Loire, while the grape variety is often known as Steen in South Africa.

Our selection of great Chenin Blanc

  • Domaine Huet, Vouvray, Loire
  • Domaine du Closel, Savennières, Loire
  • David & Nadia, Swartland, South Africa
  • Mullineux & Leeu, Swartland, South Africa
  • Ken Forrester, Stellenbosch, South Africa

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