Today we’re talking acidic white wine with chenin blanc packing a tart punch. The grape originated in the Loire Valley of France, where it’s known as Vouvray, however the largest grower & producer of chenin blanc is South Africa, where it’s the #1 planted grape and known as Steen there.
Chenin blancs vary widely in style depending on region, so make sure to note the sweetness before buying. France’s version is known for high acidity, citrus fruit, and florals like honeysuckle. Savennières is exclusively dry, whereas Vouvray can range anywhere from dry to sweet.
In South Africa and California, it’s almost always made in a dry style and tends to feature more tropical fruit notes. Many choose to age it in oak, giving it the characteristic brioche, toast, and nutty notes.
Sparkling: Vouvray Méthode Traditionnelle, Crémant de Loire (blend), or Méthode Cap Classique (aka MCC, blend from South Africa)
Dry: Sec from Vouvray or sweetness scale from South Africa. Lean and minerally
Off-Dry: Tendre from Vouvray. Often considered the most popular style
Sweet: Look for Quarts de Chaume and Bonnezeaux from Loire
What to expect
Pale straw to pale amber
Medium plus to high acidity, light body, medium fruitiness
Apple, pear, lime, honeydew, peach, orange, passionfruit, ginger, honey, jasmine, honeysuckle
Oaky brioche, nutmeg, toast, buttered popcorn
Champalou Vouvray 2017 – $22.99
Imported by Kermit Lynch and sustainably farmed
Pale straw, almost clear
Green apple, floral, tart pear, honeysuckle, minerality
Off-dry but tastes dry from zippy, high acidity
Medium fruit, very light with a clean finish
Well-balanced. Would buy again. A great summer wine
Six Hats Fedora Chenin Blanc 2018 – $14.99
Pale straw, aromatic, and dry
High acid, medium fruit
Ripe honeydew, minerals, tart pear, hints of honeysuckle and petrol, brioche
Medium finish. Solid CB for the price
Comment your favorite below and come back next week for more tasting!