Drink Chenin Blanc Day kicks off a full week of Chenin Blanc celebrations. It is the third Saturday of June every year so this year, that means this 18th of June. #drinkcheninblancday
It’s hard not to love Chenin Blanc; given its diversity of styles from lean, dry whites and aromatic sparklers, to sweet golden nectars as well as rich brandies. Chenin Blanc is the chameleon of the white wine world and it is probably the most versatile, and certainly one of the greatest, white grapes on the planet.
Where does Chenin Blanc originate from?
Chenin Blanc is unarguably most famously from the Loire Valley in France. Thanks to the cooler climate here, the grape maintains high acidity levels which have allowed it to produce wines of many different styles! From crisp and dry still wines, sparkling wines, to off-dry still wines and even lusciously sweet botrytis-affected dessert wines, the Loire truly has a style of Chenin Blanc for everyone!
Chenin has found great success outside of France too – most notably in South Africa, where it’s considered the flagship white grape! Did you know it is called Steen in SA? Here, old bush-vines in Stellenbosch and Swartland are making intensely concentrated, rich wines that lean toward more tropical flavours than those from the Loire Valley.
What does Chenin Blanc taste like?
Classic, dry still Chenin Blanc should will have aromas of apples and pears, honey and then chamomile. There can often be a ‘wet wool’ or paraffin oil character to the more complex ones, and the wines will show plenty of acidity with a crunchy, steely mineral character.
Chenin Blanc that is dry and fruity is made in South Africa, California, Australia, and of course bottles of Vouvray labeled sec. These wines will be very fruity and floral. While the acidity is still high, these dry still styles are delicate and make a better match with foods that are as well.
What to pair Chenin Blanc with?
Chenin Blanc is a fabulous food pairing wine — it pairs really well with creamy or grilled chicken or pork dishes, meatier flaky fish, Sushi and rich seafood (especially white crabmeat, Oysters, scallops & lobster!). Not to mention, you’ll find it pairs well with foods that have a sweet and sour element. Southeast Asian cuisine or pork chops with apples paired with a richer and sweeter style Chenin Blanc will blow your mind.
Recommended Chenin from Ashby Wines
Our favourite Chenin Blanc is naturally from South Africa! We currently stock:
Hill & Dale Chenin Blanc, from Stellenbosch, South Africa, 2021 – a gentle wine with a good balance. This wine has a creamy texture and has a long lasting after taste and is an ideal paring with most seafood dishes.
The Liberator: Francophile Chenin Blanc, Stellenbosch, South Africa, 2020 – made from a parcel of old bush vine Chenin Blanc. This wine has a dry, savoury finish.
Welgelegen Chenin Blanc, Stellenbosch, South Africa – a fresh, fruit driven wine layered with flavours of guava, pear and citrus. The palate is rich with a crisp finish and makes an excellent food wine.