You might know it as Steen, Vouvray, or Savennieres. If not, or maybe you have heard of it but have never tried it, now is definitely the time.
This grape is versatile in style and sweetness, and will satisfy a wide variety of tastes. The most famous Chenin Blanc comes from the Loire Valley in France, specifically from Vouvray and Savennieres. Nevertheless, this grape can be found in the US, Argentina, and South Africa (encompasses over 50% of the vineyards worldwide).
In the past, Chenin Blanc has gotten a bad rap from the oceans of very ordinary, poor quality bulk wine that was widely available for many years. However, there are some great quality wines available on the market specifically from Vouvray, Savennieres, and South Africa.
Characteristics of Chenin Blanc will include notes of apple, quince, pear, jasmine, passion fruit, citrus, honey, orange, and melon, depending on how the wine is finished. Secondary notes may include butterscotch, baked apple, and brioche.
A Chenin Blanc pairs well with foods that have a sweet and sour element, such as Southeast Asian cuisine or pork chops. A high quality Chenin Blanc from South Africa pairs wonderfully with turkey dinner. The high acidity means that it pairs well with many foods and can cut through those fatty or rich sauces without overwhelming the more delicate flavors.
Therefore, the next time you’re looking for a little extra something to go with that perfect meal, try reaching for a Chenin Blanc.