white-wine-varietals
EDUCATION

Chenin Blanc

(SHEN-ihn BLAHN)

Chenin Blanc is arguably the most versatile of all white wine varieties, at least in terms of its various styles and types, as it can successfully produce dry to off-dry table wines, sparkling wines, and sweetened dessert wines.

  • Aroma/Flavor Components:

Chenin Blanc can offer fairly aromatic characteristics of tropical fruit (melon), tree fruits (apple, pear, and peach), floral, bakeshop (honey and tea), and mineral (wet stone).

  • Structural Components:

These wines can offer a varying range of dryness and sweetness. Depending upon the quality of grapes and the quantity of residual sugar, Chenin Blanc’s body will range from a light to full body. Regardless of style, Chenin Blanc always contains medium to high acidity. This grape can stand up to modest oak-aging but is more often left to age in either stainless steel or neutral oak barrels in order to accentuate the grape’s primary characteristics and the emphasis of soil type.

  • Significant Locations:

Chenin Blanc expresses its most distinctive and reputable personality in France’s Loire Valley region. It reaches its pinnacle in the appellations of Savennières (mostly dry versions) and Vouvray (mostly off-dry to sweetened versions). In the New World, Chenin Blanc is mildly popular in California (Central Coast) and South Africa (Coastal Region) where the grape is locally referred to as Steen.