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Grape of the Week: Chenin Blanc

Hi friends!

Welcome to this week's edition of Grape of the Week. This week, I've decided to share with you a wonderful grape varietal that is perfect for these hot summer days: Chenin Blanc.

Chenin Blanc is one of my favorite white wine varietals. It is light and crisp with an off-dry sweetness, and very versatile for summer time food pairings.

Chenin Blanc has a few other names that it goes by, including Vouvray (after the region in France that it grows quite well in), and Steen. It is primarily grown in South Africa and moderately in France, and in smaller production in the U.S. and Argentina.

Chenin Blanc is a floral varietal that typically yields aromas of sweet white flower nectar, green melon, citrus and honey.

Its flavors vary depending on the climate. Cooler climates, such as in the Vouvray region, produce Chenin Blancs that taste of lemon and young yellow apples or green pears. In warmer climates, Such as South Africa, Chenin Blanc tends to show off more pineapple, citrus, honeydew melon and honeycomb flavors.

As I mentioned above, Chenin Blanc is an off-dry wine, which means that it is not totally devoid of sweetness. But it is not sweet enough to be considered a sweet wine. It has just enough residual sugars in it to bring out the fruit flavors. It is high in acidity, so it is a very crisp wine. The off-dry/acidic nature of Chenin Blanc makes it a very refreshing wine to enjoy cold on these hot summer days.

You can drink these wines by themselves, or pair them with salads, light hors d'oeuvres or light meals. I prefer to pair it with chicken sautéed in a white cream sauce. The acidity cuts through the fats in the cream sauce, and the juicy melon, citrus and honey flavors pair perfectly with the chicken and sides.

One of my favorite examples of Chenin Blanc comes from the South African winery of Simonsig. If you have been following my blogs, you will have already read about this wine. It is a winery owned by the Malan family for over three generations. They are very dedicated to the natural world, and use all natural vineyard practices in growing their wines. Their Chenin Blanc produces wonderful aromas of honeydew melon, pineapple and honeycomb. It exudes delicious, mouth-watering flavors of melon and honey, and has a perfectly balanced crispness to accompany the fruit flavors.

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I hope you will give this wine a try, and find it to be a great substitute for Sauvignon Blanc or even Pinot Grigio. Explore and enjoy!
Cheers until next week!