Originating in Anjou, Chenin Blanc, also known as Pineau de la Loire, is a white grape variety that produces refined, expressive wines. Well known in its native Loire Valley, this variety has good acidity and is equally at home in warmer climates, becoming increasingly popular in California and South Africa.

Although it remains less popular than Chardonnay or Sauvignon blanc, Chenin Blanc deserves attention for its powerful flavours of fruit (apricot, pear and lemon), honey and white flowers. But the grape’s most interesting characteristic is its ability to create a wide range of different wines.

From sparkling wines to very dry, still wines, from wines with great aging potential to those with very concentrated residual sugars, Chenin Blanc can take on an array of personalities. It should be known as the chameleon grape!

Here we suggest a four-part Chenin Blanc experience along with dishes that marry perfectly with various vintages of this grape from the Loire.

Sparkling

  1. Taste tag : Fruity and vibrant
    Château Moncontour Vouvray Brut Sparkling wine | 750 ml France , Vallée de la Loire
    $19.95
    AvailableOnline AvailableIn store

Pairing: This dry sparkling wine with fine, persistent bubbles is quite lively. It expresses its full potential when accompanied by Warm Chevre and Honey on Toast.

 

 

Dry

  1. Taste tag : Fruity and vibrant
    Ken Forrester Petit Chenin Blanc Stellenbosch White wine | 750 ml South Africa , Western Cape
    $14.00
    AvailableOnline AvailableIn store

Pairing: This very fresh, dry white opens with subtle fruit and vegetal notes. It also evokes green apple, pear, fresh-cut herbs and chalk. It will be sure to please your dinner guests when served alongside Scallops in Lemon Sauce. Try adding a touch of maple syrup to bring out the honey flavours.

 

Semi-dry

  1. Cellier Product
    Domaine de Bellivière Les Rosiers Jasnière 2018 White wine | 750 ml France , Vallée de la Loire
    $42.50
    Not availableOnline AvailableIn store

Pairing: This semi-dry white abounds with aromas of peach and sweet spices as well as definite mineral notes. White Fish with Samphire would make a thoughtful pairing, with the saltiness of the samphire creating the perfect balance against the residual sugars of the wine.

 

Sweet

  1. Moulin Touchais Coteaux du Layon 1994 Dessert wine | 750 ml France , Vallée de la Loire
    $40.50
    Not availableOnline AvailableIn store

Pairing: This sweet wine made from later harvests has a good balance between sugar and acidity. Notes of peach and pineapple add to its exoticism, and it silky texture is reminiscent of Sauternes. An Apple Tarte Tatin makes for a very satisfying pairing.

 

Be sure to tell us your own Chenin Blanc pairings…

Bon appétit!