Chenin Blanc

  (SHEN-ihn BLAHN)
Synonyms: Chenin Blanc, Pineau, Pineau de la Loire, Steen (South Africa), Pino Blanco (Latin America), Anjou, Blanc d’Aunis, Capbreton blanc, Confort, Coue Fort, Cruchinet, Cugnette, Feher Chenin, Franc blanc, Franche, Gout Fort, Luarskoe, Pineau, Pineau d’ Anjou, Pineau de Briollay, Pineau de Savennieres, Pineau gros, Pineau gros de Vouvray, Pineau Nantais,Plant de Breze, Plant de Salces, Plant de Salles, Plant du Clair de Lune, Quefort, Rajoulin, Rouchalin, Rougelin, Stein, Tete de Crabe, Vaalblaar Stein, Verdurant

Wine Name: Chenin Blanc , Vouvray (voo-VRAY), Cremant d’ Loire (sparkling)

Background: As a young wine, Chenin Blanc may taste of fruity green apples and lemon seeds and aromas are less prominent than Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc wines. It can sometimes have a vegetal, off dry taste but it is one of the highest acidity grapes so it is usually crisp and clean. Chenin Blanc wines can age well and produce a honeyed, pineapple and exotic fruit taste with medium acid. The Loire Valley region in central France is the classic home of Chenin Blanc, especially in its subregions of Samur, Savennieres (Sa-ven-YAIR), and Vouvray. These areas also excel at producing a semi-dry and a late harvested sweet Chenin Blanc dessert wine and a sparkling wine called Cremant d’ Loire. South Africa now produces a fair amount of Chenin Blanc wine but they tend to make it less acidic and with more tropical fruit flavors than the Loire Valley wines.

Classic Brands and Sources: There are many Loire Valley producers of both dry and off dry Chenin Blancs; USA – Chalone, Chappellet, Dry Creek; South Africa – Kanu, Mulderbosch; New Zealand – Milton


Style #1 – cool climate (Vouvray)Body – light to medium (-)

Acidity – high

Sweetness – dry to off dry

Tannins – low

Style #2 – warm climateBody – medium

Acidity – medium (+)

Sweetness – dry, fruity

Tannins – low

Style #3 – demi-secBody – medium (+) to full

Acidity – perceived as low

Sweetness – sweet

Tannins – low


Wine and food pairing guidelines:

Cool climate and warm climate with acidic light to medium bodied dishes; Off dry with Pacific Rim cuisines, spicy food and desserts

Foods and Entrees that usually pair:
Cool and warm climate Chenin Blanc goes with fish, shellfish, chicken, pork and veal with citric and other acidic sauces; salads, sushi; Off dry goes with Chinese, Thai, Vietnamese, foie gras, apples and apple-based desserts

Cheese Pairings:
Boursin herbed (cool climate), Brick, Derby, Feta (sheep’s milk), goat cheese, Gouda, Havarti, Majorero (Spanish hard goat cheese) Mahon, Bucheron (French goat cheese), dry Jack cheese, Cream (warm weather), Neufchatel , Saint-Felicien (French cow;s milk cheese), Raclette, Pave Affinois

Appetizer Pairings:

See Appetizers to go with Chenin Blanc