Chenin Blanc

First cultivated in France's Loire Valley, chenin blanc remains a major grape there, especially in Vouvray and in such lesser-known appellations as Coteaux du Layon, Quarts de Chaume, Saumur, and Savennieères (it produces first-class dessert wines in the first two of those, and in Vouvray). Pleasant sparkling wine is made from chenin blanc under the name crémant de Loire. It is also the most widely planted grape in South Africa, where it was formerly often labeled as steen, and while its acreage is decreasing, it has long been a major grape in California, too, though often grown for bulk wines. It is grown as well in Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and several South American countries. Chenin blanc-based wines tend to have an easily identifiable aroma of tropical fruits with an overtone of honey. Greengage plums are also often mentioned by tasters. Sweet chenin blanc remains surprisingly fresh and develops beautifully in the bottle more many decades.

Serve With

Cream soups, spring rolls and Chinese dumplings, chicken or game hen, vegetable dishes, and fontina and other earthy-tasting cheeses (for sweet chenin blanc, foie gras, pâtés and terrines, and baklava and other nut-based desserts).