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Chenin Blanc


#1

Sometimes the bridesmaid, rarely the bride! P. Noir, Chard, even P. Gris & Sauv Blanc etc have their own threads and are oft mentioned yet CB seems unfashionable despite it’s remarkable versatility.

To my mind, dry Savennières hits the spot, especially the bee’s wax notes given a few years bottle age. But it’s price limits it to fine days and holidays. Low cost versions are often dire and lack soul. Any suggestions / alternative C.B. - except for the obvious?


#2

Although not fine wine, we really enjoy the below C.B. (with a touch of colombard) at home as an everyday drinking sort of wine, its old vine as well:

I do also have the below wine from the recent Loire case which I might try soon as well:


#3

Great post - completely agree this grape doesn’t get its due. I also suspect one of the main reasons is that it’s so remarkably diverse and ‘un-pin-downable’ in a way: it can be anything from sweet to dry to still to sparkling (to wonderful to terrible!).

Agree with @M1tch about the Fistful of Schist white - a really smart buy. This one is a joy too, and in at (just) under £10 - it played a blinder in feted company during our Wine Champions blind tastings this year:

Creeping up slightly in price, this Argentine curio is one of my favourites (some on here will remember it from a recent #TWSTaste!) and I love the story behind it too.

And while I know you asked for cheaper Savennières alternatives, this one really is such a standard-bearer I couldn’t not mention it! From a ripe year but so much precision


#4

Oooo, nothing better than an aged Vouvray. Scrummy.

https://www.thewinesociety.com/searchProducts.aspx?q=vouvray&hPP=60&idx=products&p=0&nR[vintage][<%3D][0]=2000&is_v=1


#5

Though not in stock now the Alheit Cartology is a great wine, enjoyed it very much at the first London BYO lunch courtesy of @Kent_wino . It is a blend of Chenin Blanc and Semillon. I have since bought a half case of the 2017 of Cartology and a few bottles of 3 single varietal CBs from Alheit.


#6

I would second @martin_brown ‘s suggestion of the Raats, it is very good. Also nice is this one…

And if you’re looking for a sweet version, then this delicious…

Coteaux du Layon wines are often overlooked in the U.K. and are terrific value.


#7

Great thread! We’re recent converts to CB so we’re working our way round the list. Just taken delivery of another bottle of this because we enjoyed the first one so much:


#8


I have this in my basket out of curiosity.


#9

will agree with @martin_brown on the Raats

South Africa, in general, turns out some good CB - mainly slightly warmer climate than loire so a little richer fruit (imho)

Recently had a KWV Mentors CB - that was really good - not sure its still sold in the UK (after the collapse of the importer)

but…its Loire all the way really and esp Savennieres - Domain Roche aux Moines and Nicolas Joly’s Coulee de Serrant…great to visit both if you get the chance…they are virtually next door to each other anyway


#10

Apart from the Loire (and a big thumbs-up from me for Savennieres), South Africa is looking like the new go-to place for classy Chenin Blanc these days. Perhaps the Chenin-dominated blends are best of all. The Society usually lists a few of these ones at the top end as well as the ones mentioned already, though the best seem to vanish from the list very quickly, so grab them when you see them! A bit of a turnaround from back in the KWV monopoly days, when it was all made into characterless white under its nom-de-guerre of Steen.

Chenin is a bit unusual as it seems to do well in a range of climates.

Three or four years ago I visited Coriole in the McLaren Vale. They do a basic but well-made Chenin. Talking to them about ageing, I asked how their wine matured, and they very kindly pulled a ten-year old bottle from their museum stock. It was wonderful!

But anyway, just to say that Chenins age really well, taking on characteristics that only emerge with bottle age. Savennieres particularly - its mature taste reminds me for some reason of antique wardrobes, though I can’t imagine that’s of much use to anyone else.

One other thing - it’s often said that to really appreciate lesser wines, the best thing to do is to splash out on a really good example, to see the sort of thing they are aiming at. Not much help with Burgundy or Claret (!), but it works well with dry Chenins. The very best are rarely much over £30. Sweeter ones can be a lot more though.

(I started typing this but got interrupted so many times that others have covered quite a bit of it already - too bad!)


#11

Until recently and I am sure PeterM will concur SA Chenin Blanc was mainly from co operatives and just decent, but they have upped their game, with all their wines, and are now producing some cracking Chenins.
I really like Savennierres and still have some Roche aux Moines in my cellar from the winery and a couple of bottles of Nicolas Joly Savennières Roche aux Moines Clos de la Bergerie both 2010, but they are variable to say the least if the winery tastings were anything to go by and without tasting I would not buy.
On the other hand at a very reasonable price this from Sainsburys which has had some very good reviews and awards I can recommend, terrific value, it may not have that Loire waxiness but it is right up there.

Capturesr


#12

Two wines we enjoyed recently (one from TWS one from M&S), and which had made us want to explore further examples of Chenin, were:

A lovely lovely wine: fresh, crisp as a fresh green apple and also quite ‘pure’, if that makes sense. Shame it’s no longer in stock.

And last Tuesday this one delighted us no end:

I agree with @martin_brown that a bit like Riesling - it’s a difficult grape to pin down, being so versatile- but that’s a good thing in my book.


#13

That’s a gorgeous image! Ahhh… the smell of Narnia :smiley:


#14

Agree problem with Chenin is that it’s made in so many different styles.

South Africa’s Chenin Blanc Association have tried to categorise the styles so consumers know what t expect but I’ve yet to see definitions on labels.

Chenin Blanc Association Definistions

Fresh & fruity (less than 9 g/ℓ residual sugar)

Rich & ripe – unwooded (less than 9 g/ℓ residual sugar)

Rich & ripe – wooded (less than 9 g/ℓ residual sugar)

Rich & ripe – slightly sweet (between 9 and 30 g/ℓ residual sugar)

Sweet (more than 30 g/ℓ residual sugar)

Sparkling (Tank fermented or Cap Classique=methode champenoise)


#15

South Africa grows more Chenin than the rest of the world put together.

It’s a vastly underated variety.

In 2010 in France
I walked through the old bush vine Chenin vineyard with the owner/winemaker of Domaine du Closel. She fiercely denied that she made Chenin. “I do not make Chenin! I make Savennieres!”

Terroir, terroir :face_with_raised_eyebrow:


#16

YES 100% to this, also I think the best place to actually buy Savennieres and other Loire Chenins is IN the LOIRE. The range is so much better there and a lot less expensive than here. My wine journey first started with a Vouvray love affair :heart_eyes:.


#17

Lovely thread @lapin_rouge.
I love the South African chenins and blends. Cartology is stunning, and I’ll look forward to @szaki1974 tasting notes on Alheit’s top of the range bottles. Also support recommendation of Stellenrust from Sainsbury’s, both standard and barrel fermented options are superb value.
The TWS coteaux vendomois split a recent tasting I ran. Astonishingly long and it fired up the back palate like nothing I have tasted before. But while most loved it, a few hated it.

This one was highly rated by Decanter for the previous vintage.

One yet to get a mention and a favourite of mine

https://www.gpbrands.eu/shop/te-arai-chenin-blanc-millton-2015/

A bargain at c£18

And am looking forward to Mullineux Quartz recently bought at auction.

Loved the TWS Mendoza version too, and the coteaux de Layon dessert wine (fabulous value)

What a fantastic grape. I am totally addicted


#18

Congratulations! A top name reliable across the range, red, white and sweet wines.


#19

Wow I don’t like getting negative about wines: each to their own, but the 2014 Fistful, I think was the worst wine I tasted all year in 2017. I had this down as “Straight to chicken cacciatore sauce. Dont pass go. Don’t collect £200.” possibly its bottle variance etc.


#20

Excellent ! many thanks to everyone for their suggestions. My ‘wish list’ is looking healthy !

Of course I deplore buying elsewhere… .however The lady Lapin & I enjoyed a bottle of this one https://www.majestic.co.uk/wines/bellingham-the-bernard-series-old-vine-chenin-blanc-20165 which I can recommend. Not quite a Savennieres, but it does have beeswax I enjoy (that’s old wardrobes to Mr Tallis)