CHENIN BLANC

      IT’S HARD NOT TO LOVE CHENIN BLANC; GIVEN ITS DIVERSITY OF STYLES FROM LEAN, DRY WHITES AND AROMATIC SPARKLERS, TO SWEET GOLDEN NECTARS AS WELL AS RICH BRANDIES.  IT ALSO OFFERS OAK-AGED STYLES WITH SIMILAR FLAVORS TO CHARDONNAY.  THUS, THERE IS A CHENIN BLANC WINE FOR EVERY OCCASION.

 

      CHENIN BLANC IS A GROWN THROUGHOUT THE WORLD, MOST NOTABLY IN THE LOIRE VALLEY OF FRANCE AND SOUTH AFRICA. IN SOUTH AFRICA, CHENIN BLANC IS THE MOST PLANTED WINE GRAPE AND, IN RECENT YEARS, A GREAT DEAL OF EFFORT HAS BEEN PUT INTO RESEARCHING HOW TO MAKE SOUTH AFRICAN CHENIN COMPETE WITH THE BEST IN THE WORLD. WHAT’S REALLY COOL IS THAT EVEN THOUGH SOUTH AFRICA IS TURNING OUT INCREDIBLE CHENIN BLANC WINES (PARTICULARLY FROM OLD VINEYARDS), THE PRICES ARE STILL QUITE COMPETITIVE. THIS IS AN AWESOME SPOT TO LOOK FOR VALUE.

 

      IN THE COOLER LOIRE VALLEY OF FRANCE, RIPENESS OF CHENIN BLANC CAN BE SO UNEVEN THAT GRAPES ARE USUALLY SELECTED BY HAND IN SUCCESSIVE PASSES THROUGH THE VINEYARD. THE HIGH ACID, LESS RIPE GRAPES MAKE A GREAT BASE FOR SPARKLING WINES. THEN, THE RIPER GRAPES ARE USED IN THE RICHLY AROMATIC, OFF-DRY STYLES. FINALLY, AT THE END OF THE HARVEST SEASON, THE LAST GRAPES PICKED ARE BEYOND RIPE OR AFFECTED WITH NOBLE ROT, WHICH CONCENTRATES THE GRAPES’ SUGARS, LENDING RICH FLAVORS OF ORANGE MARMALADE, GINGER, AND SAFFRON.

RED MEAT

VEAL, PORK

POULTRY

CHICKEN, TURKEY, GUINEA FOUL, DUCK

SEAFOOD

TROUT, HALIBUT, SALMON

CHEESE

SOFT TO SEMI-FIRM COW’S MILK CHEESES, SUCH AS TRIPLE-CREAM BRIE, GRUYERE, CREAM CHEESE, YOGHURT AND CHEDDAR WORK VERY WELL WITH CHENIN BLANC. ALSO TRY HERB-CRUSTED GOAT CHEESES

HERBS/SPICES

CINNAMON, DILL, TARRAGON, TURMERIC, GINGER, FENUGREEK, FENNEL, CLOVE, MARJORAM, ALLSPICE, RED PEPPER FLAKES, CILANTRO, CUMIN, CORIANDER, FENNEL, MACADAMIA NUT, PEANUT, CASHEW, SESAME SEED

VEGETABLES

SQUASH, JICAMA, GUAVA, SHALLOT, CHIVES, SAVOY CABBAGE, YAM, CARROT, CAULIFLOWER, OYSTER MUSHROOM, CORN, RED BELL PEPPER, APPLE, QUINCE, PEAR

NEED SOME IDEAS?

 

GIVEN THE WIDE RANGE OF STYLES IT’S HARD TO PIN DOWN A PERFECT PAIRING. THAT SAID, YOU JUST MUST TRY CHENIN WITH ASIAN CUISINE… DELIGHTFUL!

     SALADS.  ESPECIALLY CHICKEN, CHEESE OR HAM SALADS OR ONES CONTAINING APPLES OR PEARS.      CHENIN BLANC CAN HANDLE AN ELEMENT OF FRUIT

 

     PASTA DISHES.  LIGHT SEAFOOD PASTA DISHES AND RISOTTOS

 

     FRESH SEAFOOD.  INCLUDING CRAB, PRAWNS, SCALLOPS, LOBSTER AND, MOST PARTICULARLY,              OYSTERS

     COOKED EGG DISHES.  LIKE QUICHES, FRITTATAS AND OMELETTES

     ROAST CHICKEN. WITH ROASTED ROOT VEGETABLES LIKE CARROTS, PARSNIPS, AND SWEET

     POTATOES

 

     CREAMS SAUCES.  A GOOD FISH PIE, FOR EXAMPLE OR CHICKEN WITH A CREAM AND MUSHROOM          SAUCE.​

HELLO TURKEY DINNER!!! THERE ARE SEVERAL WHITE WINES OUT THERE WITH ENOUGH GUSTO TO MOISTEN EVEN THE DRIEST TURKEY. TRY A HIGH QUALITY SOUTH AFRICAN CHENIN BLANC WITH YOUR THANKSGIVING DINNER. IT WILL EVEN HANDLE CRANBERRY SAUCE LIKE IT WAS BORN TO DO SO.