The versatile Chenin Blanc‘s pretensions to classic grape status are mainly realised in the Loire Valley, where its floral aroma, apple and pear-like flavour and acidity contribute to long-lived dry styles and luscious sweet whites around Bonnezeaux, Quarts de Chaume, Vouvray and Layon, and, on occasions, full-flavoured sparkling wines.

Quick Link: Decanter travel guide: Loire Valley, France


New World
Considered more of a workhorse variety in the New World, it is South Africa‘s most widely planted grape variety (known as Steen), widely planted in California, Australia, Argentina and New Zealand, and occasionally produces quality dry whites when barrel-fermented.

SEE ALSO: Sarah Ahmed’s top South African Chenin BlancsInternational Trophy White Single-Varietal under £15 – Perdeberg |

What does it taste like?

Chenin Blanc in its most classic form in the Loire Valley is full of floral and honeyed aromas and quince and apple-like flavours with good zippy acidity. When cool-fermented as in so many instances in South Africa, it can be quite peardroppy, becoming more peachy in fuller dry whites.

With botrytis development in the grapes, it becomers rich in barley sugar and honeyed characters, particularly in tthe luscious sweet wines of the Loire Valley.

Food Matching with Chenin Blanc: Apple puff pastry with Christmas spices | Courgette flowers, apple and horseradish | Michel Roux Jr: Leek Terrine with Goat’s Cheese Recipe

Updated by Jeanne Thexton on the 11th of January 2016