What is Chenin Blanc?

by tarynlachter
Continuing with our recent theme of discussing grapes born in the Loire Valley, we present to you another gorgeous grape that many tend to overlook: the Chenin Blanc. 

This fabulous white grape comes from France, particularly in the ever famous Loire Valley.

It made its way to South Africa in the 1600s where it’s become increasingly popular.

Around the 1970s, Chenin Blanc was actually removed from vineyards in France to make way for the Cab Franc and Sauvignon Blanc.

Continuing with our recent theme of discussing grapes born in the Loire Valley (see our last pieces on Cabernet Franc and Riesling), we present to you another gorgeous grape that many tend to overlook: the Chenin Blanc. 

This fabulous white grape comes from France, particularly in the ever famous Loire Valley, but made its way to South Africa in the 1600s where it’s become increasingly popular. Around the 1970s, Chenin Blanc was actually removed from vineyards in France to make way for the Cab Franc and Sauvignon Blanc but then came back to life when the wine community had a taste for sweet dessert wines.

It’s incredibly versatile, actually, with a unique variety of tastes varying from the sweeter side to the dry whites and bubblies. What is truly wonderful about a Chenin Blanc is the medium to high levels of acidity that you’ll find no matter where it comes from. There is a huge range of fruit flavors you can get from this lovely white grape from pear and quince to melons and oranges and even very specific notes of dessert like baked apples with honey. 

Many Chenin Blancs take on qualities that can resemble a Chardonnay but are a bit more robust in their palate. These can demonstrate flavors of buttered popcorn or even graham crackers when they’ve been aged in oak. 

Because of the terroir of the Loire Valley which is a very northern region of France, temperatures can get fairly low, which poses an interesting element to the Chenin Blanc which is harvested late. In fact, in the seasons when it gets much warmer, like those long autumns, the grape can be subject to noble rot. It sounds gross but in fact, this is the mold that is known for creating some of the most spectacular sweet wines because of the way it causes the skins to shrivel and allow the juices to concentrate and create that fabulous rich taste. Unless it’s subject to these specific conditions, Chenin Blancs tend to be on the drier side with that marvelous acidity that it’s famous for, which can also create delicious sparkling wines. 

Despite these amazing qualities, Chenin Blanc still tends to be forgotten about on the grand scale, constantly overlooked by Vouvray (another lovely sweet white from France) or even Sauvignon Blanc which has less of a range but takes the world as one of the most popular white wines. If you’re excited to try this beauty, which you should be, only look for those that come from the Loire Valley or South Africa to ensure you’re truly experiencing the best it has to offer. 



FEATURED EVENTS

Crush Wine Experiences

October 23, 2021

A once-in-a-lifetime experience

Piedmont Italy: Barolo and Barbaresco tour

Oct 23 – 30, 2021
6 nights, 7 days
Milan, Barolo, Alba, and Turin

RESERVE NOW
Crush Wine Experiences

September 23, 2020

Live Online Zoom Broadcast

Kotti Berliner – Food & Wine Pairing

Join us for a Virtual Food & Wine Pairing with Brooklyn’s Kotti Berliner. Explore delicious döner kebabs paired with wine. Meet Kotti founder, Erkan Emre.

RSVP FOR FREE
Crush Wine Experiences

September 16, 2020

Live Online Zoom Broadcast

Broadbent Selections – Portugal

Join us for a Virtual Tasting with one of America’s leading importers of high-quality Portuguese wines.

RSVP FOR FREE
Crush Wine Experiences

September 2, 2020

Live Online Zoom Broadcast

Cusumano Winery – Sicily, Italy

Join us for a Virtual Tasting with the maker of the #1 selling Sicilian wine in the U.S.

RSVP FOR FREE
Crush Wine Experiences

August 26, 2020

Live Online Zoom Broadcast

Kunde Family Winery

Join us for a Virtual Tasting. The Kunde family has farmed an 1,850-acre estate in Sonoma Valley for 100 years.

RSVP FOR FREE
Crush Wine Experiences

August 19, 2020

Live Online Zoom Broadcast

LangeTwins Family Winery and Vineyards

Join us for a Virtual Tasting. Great wine starts in the vineyard.

RSVP FOR FREE
Crush Wine Experiences

August 12, 2020

Live Online Zoom Broadcast

Dutcher Crossing Winery

Join us for a Virtual Tasting. Distinctive and hand-crafted wines produced from award-winning vineyards.

RSVP FOR FREE
Crush Wine Experiences

June 12, 2020

At Your Home

RGNY At-Home Blending Session

Be your own winemaker for a day — guided by a professional on Zoom video!

PURCHASE KIT & ZOOM TICKET
Crush Wine Experiences

May 29, 2020

Live Online Zoom Broadcast

Virtual Wine & Pizza Tasting with Jamesport Vineyards

What’s better than great wine and artisanal pizza?

RSVP FOR FREE
Crush Wine Experiences

May 28, 2020

Live Online Zoom Broadcast

Foxen Winery & Vineyard Virtual Tasting

Experience the magic of Santa Barbara wine.

RSVP FOR FREE
Crush Wine Experiences

May 28, 2020

Live Online Zoom Broadcast

Foxen Winery & Vineyard Virtual Tasting

Experience the magic of Santa Barbara wine.

RSVP FOR FREE
Crush Wine Experiences

May 21, 2020

Live Online Zoom Broadcast

Chateau Montelena Winery Virtual Tasting

This tasting will be epic.

RSVP FOR FREE
Crush Wine Experiences

May 19, 2020

Live Online Zoom Broadcast

Ridge Vineyards Virtual Tasting – Monte Bello winery

The New York Times described Ridge Monte Bello as “America’s greatest Cabernet Sauvignon.”

RSVP FOR FREE
Crush Wine Experiences

May 18, 2020

Live Online Zoom Broadcast

Tenuta di Lilliano Virtual Tasting

Very special tasting. Don’t miss it!

RSVP FOR FREE
Crush Wine Experiences

May 15, 2020

Live Online Zoom Broadcast

Pedroncelli Winery Virtual Tasting

Four Generations of Family Pride at Pedroncelli Winery, since 1927

RSVP FOR FREE
Crush Wine Experiences

May 14, 2020

Live Online Zoom Broadcast

Provence Rosé Group Virtual Tasting

The best rosé in the world comes from Provence.

RSVP FOR FREE
Crush Wine Experiences

May 13, 2020

Live Online Zoom Broadcast

St. Francis Winery Virtual Tasting

Voted “#1 in America” in 2013 and 2015 by Open Table customers.

RSVP FOR FREE
Crush Wine Experiences

May 12, 2020

Live Online Zoom Broadcast

Ridge Vineyards Virtual Tasting – Lytton Springs

The New York Times described Ridge’s Cabernet Sauvignon as America’s greatest.

RSVP FOR FREE
Crush Wine Experiences

May 11, 2020

Live Online Zoom Broadcast

Oak Farm Vineyards Virtual Tasting

Visit the famous wine-growing region of Lodi County, California – virtually!

RSVP FOR FREE
Crush Wine Experiences

May 8, 2020

Live Online Zoom Broadcast

Goldschmidt Vineyards Virtual Tasting

Visit Sonoma County – virtually!

RSVP FOR FREE
Crush Wine Experiences

April 18, 2020

Marlboro, NY

Wines & Bites!

Hudson Valley’s yummiest wine and food tasting event

GET TICKETS
Crush Wine Experiences

March 7, 2020

New York’s Premier Winter Wine Event

NYC Winter Wine and Food Festival

Enjoy a winter getaway without even leaving the city.

GET TICKETS
Crush Wine Experiences

January 19, 2020

Riverhead, NY

RG|NY Blending Session

Join RG|NY winemaker Lilia Perez, for a unique tasting and blending session.

PURCHASE TICKETS
Crush Wine Experiences

December 14, 2019

Ulster & Orange Counties, NY

Wreath Fineries at the Wineries

Don’t miss the ultimate holiday wine tasting event in the Hudson Valley. Sales end Thursday, Dec 12 at 11:59pm!

PURCHASE TICKETS
Crush Wine Experiences

November 14, 2019

New York, NY

Around The World In 10 Wines

Experience a global tasting in 2 hours with award-winning artisan cheese and charcuterie

PURCHASE TICKETS

RELATED WINE BLOGS

Thursday, September 9th, 2021

Italy – The Wines of Emilia-Romagna
Along the Po River in Northern Italy, surrounding the city of Bologna, lies the region of Emilia-Romagna. This historical area is a culinary dream with towns like Modena, Parma, and Reggiano at its heart. In terms of wine, the claim to fame for Emilia-Romagna is fizzy, red wines like Lambrusco. Dating back to the seventh - Read More
Read more...

Wednesday, August 25th, 2021

The Wines of Umbria, Italy
Nestled between Florence and Rome, on the Eastern border of Tuscany, sits the Italian region of Umbria. It is actually the only Italian wine region that doesn’t have a coastline and is completely landlocked, so the summers are quite dry and the winters are very rainy. As a whole, Umbria produces about 600-800 million liters - Read More
Read more...

Wednesday, August 11th, 2021

French Wine 101: Southwest France
Oh France, we do love you. And your wine, of course. As a key leader in the Old World wine production, France has dozens of regions and hundreds of appellations. We all know about places like Bordeaux but do we know about the neighboring regions in Southwest France? Within the entire geographical location of Southwest - Read More
Read more...
LOAD MORE