Chenin Blanc Tasting

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Chenin Blanc Tasting

What’s wine90 doing a Chenin Blanc tasting for? Well, multiple reasons. Firstly, to support the good old peeps at Red Nose Day, secondly because my exp of Chenin Blanc as an Italian wino leaves a lot to be desired and thirdly, it was a Thursday. And?

Here I am, being very supportive of the Red Nose White but unfortunately the wine really was a one dimensional glugger but for £5 and a S.A Chenin Blanc was I really expecting something better? I think the face says it all. This wine actually outperformed the Pecan Stream Chenin Blanc, which at twice the price, was abysmal and one of the worst wines I’ve had this year.

So, lets talk about Chenin Blanc then.

Finding its best expression in the Loire valley, Chenin Blanc is a grape capable of making a variety of wines in many styles. A grape of high acidity you can find Chenin sparklers, dessert wines and regular still wines. Chenin is a tricky little guy to cultivate and begs for low yields. This is what it gets in the Loire valley with crop yields governed by AOC regulations to be no higher than 45hl/ha even in standard Anjou bottlings. So, perhaps it wasn’t really surprising then, that of the 5 Chenin Blancs that made their way to the tasting panel… that’s me and the wine sleuth… the Loire Chenins made a clean sweep.

Sadly, all the wines brought to the table were dry and not a thing from Vouvray or Coteaux du Layon but we did get to taste a Samur which just edged out the Anjou “Chateau de la Guimoniere” to be my favourite Chenin of the night.

As you can see, there wasn’t only Chenin on the table so after the formalities of the Chenin evening (which took a lot out of me I can tell you) we moved onto to happier places, a nice 2004 Savigny les Beaune and a zappy little Zin, the Frogs Leap 2005.

*takes deep breath*….. AND TASTING NOTES TIME.

La Grille Classic Barrel Fermented Chenin Blanc 2007BUY – £8 – 3rd place
A pale straw yellow with obvious green glints. On the nose the wine has a nut, apricot and green apple profile but it’s on the palate where this wine really satisfies with razor sharp acidity, great balance and a long clean finish. Notes of peach on the palate. 87 Points

Saam Mountain Red Nose White Chenin Blanc 2008BUY – £5 – 4th place

Pale straw yellow in the glass, a dull faded, “dole” tropical fruit nose with pineapple and mango showing, good weight to the wine, a mid bodied effort. Ok acidity and vegetal on the finish but really not a bad effort for the money. One dimensional, a bit like an alcoholic Lilt but drinkable. 82 Points

Chateau de la Guimonière Chenin Blanc 2005 BUY – £9 – 2nd place
Dark straw yellow with vibrant fresh tropical fruits on the nose. A creamy mid bodied wine with some noticable nutty notes on the palate, good acidity and structure with a lingering powerful finish. Top Chenin, 89 Points

Pecan Strean Chenin Blanc 2006PASS – £10 – 5th place
Golden straw yellow, not particularly aromatic but when it finally comes regular tropical notes ensue. Really lacking in fruit, mid bodied, off point, and unpleasantly green throughout. 77 Points

Les Andides Samur 2007BUY £6 – 1st place
A mid straw yellow, this wine is bursting with fresh tropical aromas on the nose, even with hints of kiwi. Super tight and crisp acidity with a citrus palate, coating mouthfeel with an aspagus note on the end. 89 Points

Where can I buy these wines?
All available at Waitrose exlucing the Chateau de la Guimonière which is available at Winerack.

Leave a Comment
Favourite Chenin regions? Favourite Chenin wine? Suprised at these results?

7 Comments Add yours

  1. Kelly says:

    So I’m guessing that you’re not a convert to Chenin love? I agree when it’s bad, it’s really bad, and when it’s mediocre it’s hardly drinkable. But to my taste a good Chenin Blanc is the height of wine enjoyment.

  2. J.J. says:

    Always good to see California represented on the table of a vinophile.Kelly’s right though, good Chenin Blanc is awesome.Not sure how easy/difficult it is to find on that side of the pond, but Chappallet used to make great Chenin Blanc, their “Dry”. Don’t think they’ll make it anymore, something about phylloxera and having to pull up the vines.But if you ever see it, it’s always good, always cheap, snap it up.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Great post. Am interested in learning more about Chenin Blanc do you know where I can find a website dedicated to the grape?

  4. Anonymous says:

    try de trafford chenin Blanc 08. Really clean and pretty.

  5. Sophie says:

    No shock here. Found your blog via Twitter and you’re so right about the Pol Roger.

  6. Love Chenin Blanc. Doesn’t get a lot of play here in the States. Unfortunate…A really good Chenin is a thing to behold…

  7. You should try South African blanc. It is completely different in style to the Loire Chenins in that they are New World style wines. So fresh fruit aroma and flavour play a big role. You get two different styles, fresh and fruity and rich and ripe. The latter style can be oaked sometimes. Chenin in SA used to be cheap and cheerful “dry white” but it is so not the case anymore. A group of producers started the Chenin blanc association a few years ago and as a result the quality of South African Chenin has increased dramatically. Most of the top Chenins are exported to the UK and Raats Chenin is available in the US. It has scored 95 from Parker on more than one occasion.

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