Chenin Blanc is a relatively unknown an yet up-and-coming grape variety that, until recently, had fallen into the "if you don't know it you don't buy it" category.
Chenin is at home in cooler climates (Loire Valley, France) but has been made with good results in warmer climates (South Africa).
Light to medium body, medium to high acidity. Can be oaked or unoaked.
Known as a chameleon, Chenin is very adaptable and can be made in many styles depending on the wine-makers preference.
Has very distinctive aromas and can be made in either sweet, dry and sparkling versions.
Can be blended with other white wines to make interesting wines.
France - Loire Valley
USA - California
Red apple, baked apple, passion fruit, pineapple, mango, apricot, mandarin orange, lemon, honeydew melon.
Honey, caramel, apple and orange blossom, fresh cut hay.
Pinot Blanco, Steen
Because of the many faces of Chenin there are many variations of food pairing available.
Sweet Chenins are great with spicy food as the acidity and sweetness works really well with the heat and different flavours that the spices bring.
Dry, more full bodied Chenins are great with white meat, in particular Turkey as the acidity cuts through the richness of the meat. Same with Pork dishes.
As with spices, Chenin is at home with herbs especially coriander and tarragon.
Simple vegetable dishes or roasted vegetable dishes work well with a Chenin and they dry versions are good with goats cheese.
Try the dry or medium dry versions with fish in creamy sauces.