Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Chenin Blanc - A Chameleon Grape

Chenin blanc is the white chameleon grape from the Loire, France, morphing and blending into its environment. In France it is known as Pineau de la Loire, in South Africa as Steen, and it is known as Pinot Blanco in Brazil, Chile, Mexico, and Argentina. Chenin's versatility stems from its high acidity. It can be used to make sweet wines, dry wines and even sparkling wines.

For an off-sweet to sweet Chenin Blanc the usual aroma and flavor profile is floral, honey suckle, honeydew or canteloupe, with a possible hint of vanilla or sweet wood.

For an off-dry to dry Chenin Blanc the usual aroma and flavor profile is apple, lime and pear with hints of vanilla and honey.

Some of the more notable places you will find Chenin Blanc are Sauternes, a desert wine usually blended with Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc, Crémant de Loire sparkling wines, and Vouvray makes off-dry style of wines.

I personally knew very little about the versatility of Chenin Blanc and didn't realize how many wines it is used in. I love desert wines, so I am a fan of Sauternes. I've also tasted a Vouvray of which I also liked. If you drink whites and are looking for a new white to try, get Chenin Blanc. I think you'll enjoy it.


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