What is Chenin Blanc Wine?
Chenin Blanc wine originates from the Loire Valley region of France. Its wine is made from a white grape varietal of the same name. Chenin Blanc wine, French in particular, is well known for its ability to make sweet, dessert style wines. These wines from the Loire region are labelled as Doux to indicate that it is the sweet style of Chenin Blanc.
High yields in warm climates made Chenin Blanc an ideal grape from South Africa, California and Western Australia. Owing to the high acidity of the Chenin Blanc grape a wide range of wines can be made from sparkling to dessert wine. Chenin Blanc is planted in many regions around the world. Known for its versatility and high yields, it is often underestimated or considered a blending varietal.
Common Chenin Blanc Wine characteristics
Wine lovers have options when it comes to Chenin Blanc: dry or sweet, dessert or sparkling. Climate, region and the hand of the winemaker impact Chenin Blanc to ensure that there is not one style wine but many. Cool climate Chenin Blanc wine is similar to Sauvignon Blanc while warm climate Chenin Blanc wines are closer to Chardonnay in style.
Chenin Blanc shows a range of fruits that differ depending on the time of harvest. Grapes picked early are fresh and acidic showing green apples, pears and even passionfruit. Later picks offer more ripe stone fruits. On the nose, there are herbs and spices as well as floral and earthy notes. The high acidity of Chenin Blanc lends itself to the production of sparkling wines.
Pairing food with Chenin Blanc Wine
Chenin Blanc food matches are as diverse as the wines styles. Fresh, citrusy Chenin Blanc pairs well with sushi and sashimi or even roast chicken or rainbow trout. As with many other sparkling white varieties, sparkling Chenin Blanc pairs well with oysters. After dinner, a really sweet Chenin Blanc pairs very well with creamy desserts or fruit salads.
An Australian coast-to-coast combination of a Margaret River Chenin Blanc and King Island triple-cream Brie from Tasmania will offer rich rewards.
Notable regions for Chenin Blanc Wine
Margaret River, Australia
Chenin Blanc in Australia has seen most of its success in the Margaret River region of Western Australia. Chenin Blanc, Margaret River wines in particular, tend to be fruitier in palate and bouquet. Responding to demands, Margaret River Chenin Blancs tend to have more passionfruit on the palate.
Chenin Blanc has been a staple of the Western Australian wine growing for centuries. Early success came in the form of Houghton White Burgundy. Due to naming controls for French wines, Houghton renamed their wine to ‘Classic White’ and remains one of the most popular white wines in Australia. Many other Western Australian winemakers produce a similar style of wine with Chenin Blanc. These wines are typically called ‘Classic Dry White’ and grew in popularity due to the warm climate in Western Australia.
South Africa is the largest producer of Chenin Blanc in the world. Known locally as Steen, Chenin Blanc was an important part of the establishment during the 1970s of the international reputation of South African wine.
The future of Chenin Blanc Wine
Australia is still looking to create truly exceptional Chenin Blanc. The ‘Classic Dry White’ style wines of Western Australia will continue to be a go-to white wine in Australia’s warmer regions and summer sun holidays throughout the world. Australia wine culture is one of endeavour and experimentation and the desire to challenge the international competition with every wine including Chenin Blanc.
- Chenin Blanc
- White Wine