Chenin Blanc is a white wine grape varietal from the Loire Valley of France. Chenin Blanc grapes are used to produce wines of varying quality. These grapes can be used to produce many different wines because they readily take on different characteristics depending upon where they are grown, how they are aged and how the winemaker uses them. Its high acidity allows it to be used to make everything from sparkling wines to well-balanced dessert wines.
The Chenin Blanc wines of Vouvray are characterized by the grape's natural high acidity, which is also a key component to the wine's aging ability. Some Vouvrays, especially the sweeter styles, have the potential to age and develop in the bottle for several decades to a century. Depending on the style, Vouvrays can exhibit notes of honey, nuts, ginger, fig, apples and white flowers. Vouvrays are often paired with rich, hearty dishes and flavorful sauces and pair very well with Camembert cheese.
In South Africa, Chenin Blanc is the most widely-planted varietal, accounting for nearly one-fifth of all vineyard plantings in the early 21st century. In California, when well made, Chenin Blanc is a wine that is effortless to drink, with soft, round flavors reminiscent of pears, melons, apricots, red apples, peaches and fruit-cocktail syrup.
Chenin Blanc pairs well with fish, shellfish, chicken, pork and veal with citric and other acidic sauces, salads, sushi, foie gras, apples and apple-based desserts, and Chinese, Thai and Vietnames cuisines.
Cheeses that go well with Chenin Blanc include herbed Boursin, Bucheron, Cabrales, Camembert, Crescenza, Dry Jack, Edam, sheep-milk Feta, Fontina, Gouda, Havarti, Mahon, Monterey Jack, Mozzarella, Muenster, Neufchatel, Pave Affinois, Pecorino Romano and Toscano, Provolone, Raclette, Ricotta and Teleme.