Wine Digest: Summer of Chenin

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Was there ever a more versatile grape than Chenin Blanc? The Loire Valley native is immediately lovable, although enigmatic. In Chenin Blanc, one encounters vivid expressions of the same orchard fruit common to many other popular white wines— apple, quince, stone fruit— only with playful tropical nods and intriguing accents of flint or beeswax, for instance. Chenin Blanc comes in every shade of residual sugar from bone dry to candied sweet. The wines vary considerably texturally in the hands of different producers or at the mercy of different terroirs: round or racy; crystal clear or unfiltered; edgy or easy; sparkling, still, or syrupy. These nuances make Chenin Blanc a legendary pairing partner for some of the table’s most challenging foods. Gladly, we continue to dabble heavily in examples of classic French Chenin Blanc. The grape has found a welcome home in many other parts of the winegrowing world, including our own backyard, so we get to enjoy even more theme and variation on this strange charmer.

 

2010 Huet “Brut” Vouvray Petillant
2014 Broc Cellars Green Valley (Solano County) Chenin Blanc
2014 Rocher des Violettes “Les Borderies” Montlouis-sur-Loire Demi-Sec
2010 Château Pierre-Bise Quarts de Chaume (dessert)