Chenin Blanc, a love affair or obsession!

Chenin Blanc, a love affair or obsession!

Chenin Blanc, also known as Pineau de la Loire, is a grape variety that has inspired a deep obsession among wine enthusiasts worldwide. With its rich history and impressive range of expressions, Chenin Blanc is a love affair that continues to captivate the hearts of wine lovers everywhere. Let's embark on a journey through its origins, characteristics, and some notable wines that make this grape so enchanting.

Origins and History

Our love affair with Chenin Blanc begins in the Loire Valley of France. French ampelographer Pierre Galet suggests that this grape originated in the Anjou wine region as early as the 9th century. By the 15th century, it had spread to Touraine, becoming a key player in French winemaking. The story of Chenin Blanc's allure took a significant turn in 1655 when it was possibly one of the first grapes planted in South Africa by Jan van Riebeeck. Alternatively, it might have arrived with Huguenots fleeing France after the revocation of the Edict of Nantes in 1685. Traditionally, Chenin Blanc was vinified in used oak barrels and aged oxidatively, creating wines rich with notes of toasted nuts, spice, and honey—a testament to its complex and seductive nature.

Flavor Profiles

One of the most compelling aspects of Chenin Blanc is its versatility in flavor, which varies depending on the winemaking style. This chameleon-like ability to transform makes it a true object of desire:

  • Dry: Experience a lean, minerally style with flavours of tart pear, quince, ginger, and chamomile.
  • Off-Dry: Indulge in richer flavours like ripe pear, jasmine, passionfruit, and honeycomb.
  • Sweet: Delight in notes of dried persimmon, toasted almond, mango, and mandarin orange.
  • Sparkling: Enjoy sparkling Chenin Blanc, from dry (Brut) to sweet (Demi-Sec), offering notes of quince, yellow apple, plum, and floral hints.

This high acidity grape is not only versatile but also highly age-worthy, deepening the passion over time.

Notable Regions and Brands

Loire Valley:

  • Vouvray: Known for its concentrated, complex dry wines, each sip a revelation.
  • Saumur Brut and Sparkling Vouvray: High-quality bubbles that are as delightful as they are affordable.

South Africa:

  • Steen: Known locally as Steen, Chenin Blanc is South Africa’s most widely planted grape, beloved for its adaptability.
  • Bruce Jack Wines: Offering both entry-level and premium expressions of Chenin Blanc, each bottle a love letter to the grape.
  • Fryer's Cove: Renowned for mid to high complexity wines from the West Coast.
  • The Cove: Entry-level wines from the warmer Robertson Region, perfect for a budding romance with Chenin Blanc.
  • The Old Road Co: Producing award-winning wines from Franschhoek, these mid to high-end selections are for those deeply in love with Chenin Blanc.


  • Once primarily used for blending, California is now crafting impressive varietal and single-vineyard Chenin Blanc wines, rekindling an old flame.

Food Pairings

Chenin Blanc’s acidity makes it a perfect match for foods with a sweet and sour element. Pair it with Southeast Asian cuisine, pork chops with apples, or even a Christmas turkey dinner. Sparkling Chenin Blanc, with its vibrant acidity, is also fantastic with salted nuts and potato chips, adding a touch of elegance to casual snacking.


Our obsession with Chenin Blanc is fuelled by its versatility, freshness, and the ability to produce a wide range of styles. Whether you prefer dry, sweet, or sparkling, there's a Chenin Blanc for every palate and occasion. This grape is a true testament to the enduring love affair between wine and its aficionados. So, the next time you're choosing a wine, let Chenin Blanc be your passionate choice – you might just fall in love all over again! 🍇🥂


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