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Grape Varieties - Chenin Blanc

Chenin Blanc

A chameleon of a grape from the Loire Valley in northern France, Chenin Blanc can produce wine in styles from light, dry and fairly neutral, to super-concentrated, fully sweet monsters. Its naturally high acidity means that it is also suitable for the manufacture of sparkling wine.

DNA analysis of Chenin Blanc shows it is related to Sauvignon Blanc (sharing both parents with that variety) and Colombard (of which it is a parent).

It is the most planted grape in South Africa where it is called Steen. It may be that it was transported there with the first vines imported by Jan van Riebeeck in the 17th century. It is also widely planted in the Americas and other New World countries.

Signature Style

Signature Style

Crisp, but beyond that, enything from dry to fully sweet and sparkling. Can be extremely ageworthy. Dry examples in their youth can be mistaken for Riesling, as they can present a very dry minerality. The signature aroma of mature Chenin wines is lanolin, often referred to as the smell of wet sheep.

Famous Examples

Famous Examples

Bonnezeaux, Quarts de Chaume, Vouvray, Montlouis, Côteaux du Layon, Savennières.

Principle Regions

Principle Regions

Touraine, Anjou-Saumur.

Synonyms

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 Salces, Plant de Salles, Plant du Clair de Lune, Quefort, Rajoulin, Rouchalin, Rougelin, Steen, Stein, Tête de Crabe, Vaalblaar Stein, Verdurant, Blanc d’Anjou, Gros Chenin, Gros Pinot Blanc de la Loire, Plant d’Anjou, Gamet blanc.

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