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Chenin Blanc

Considered a prolific and successful grape throughout South Africa, chenin blanc is also prevalent in the Old World, particularly in France’s Loire Valley where it was first discovered. It is the most widely planted grape across South Africa even today with close to 50,000 acres. The grape also thrives in New Zealand, Canada, and areas of California including the Central Valley.

The growing season for chenin blanc is quite long, with an earlier than normal bud break and a late harvest. Chenin blanc is a very versatile grape for wine growers, running the gamut from sparkling wines such as crémant de Loire to highly acidic and sweet dessert wines.

As a still wine, chenin blanc expresses notes of pears, quince, apples, and honey, along with chalky minerals for some of the regions in which it is grown. Most of the time, there is a floral backbone.

Quick Facts

  • In 1655, chenin blanc became the first wine grape to be planted in South Africa
  • Knowing precisely when the chenin blanc arrived in Australia is a challenging endeavor, as it was initially mistaken for another grape
  • During the '70s, many chenin blanc vines in France were torn out to make room for cabernet sauvignon and sauvignon blanc

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