South African Chenin Blanc captivates as an alternative white wine

South African Chenin Blanc captivates as an alternative white wine

My memories of chenin blanc go back to the early 1970s with releases from Inglenook and Charles Krug that were significant upgrades from the half gallon Burgundy and Chablis Wines that were most readily available. A resurgence of chenin blanc in California began with the establishment, in the mid-1980s, of the Clarksburg AVA near the Sacramento Delta. Soon, grapes were sourced to wineries within and outside the region. One fine example is the 2018 Aperture Barrel-fermented Chenin Blanc ($30), sourced from old vines in Clarksburg that Wilfred Wong called “America’s best dry chenin blanc.”

Although the grape is grown in many parts of the world, the roots of chenin blanc lie in the Anjou region of France’s Loire Valley. James Suckling asks us to think of chenin blanc as “France’s answer to riesling” and the aromatics and minerality of wines from Anjou and nearby Vouvray are among the finest expressions of the grape. For those eager to explore new white wine alternatives, they are readily available at reasonable prices.

South African Chenin Blanc captivates as an alternative white wine

Vincent and Tania Carême produce the award-winning Terre Brûlée Chenin Blanc. (Courtesy Cape Classics)

South African Chenin Blanc captivates as an alternative white wine

Ken Forrester creates his wine from a restored a 17th century homestead and vineyard. (Courtesy photo)

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