Chenin Blanc White Wine Variety
Chenin blanc is a highly revered white variety from the central regions of the Loire Valley where it is used to make sweet, semi-sweet and dry white wines and also sparkling wine.
Unfortunately it is not so well loved elsewhere.
Chenin in France
The famous Loire Valley wines of Vouvray are made from Chenin blanc. The variety is also used for making wines under the appellations of Montlois, Savennieres and Saumur, to name just a few.
It is also grown in the Languedoc region where it is a component of the sparkling Cremant de Limoux.
This variety is very popular in South Africa where its ability to yield well and hold its acidity in warm climates is seen as an asset. Quality is not always so good but many winemakers who realise the value of it are intent on making fine wines.
It is grown in California and other parts of the USA and to a limited extent in South America.
Chenin was once very popular for making cheap bland wine in New Zealand but is now in rapid decline.
Chenin In Australia
Most Australian plantings are in Western Australia, but Chenin is present in most Australian regions. It is probable that the WA propensity for using the variety is a result of importation of vines from South Africa in the 19th Century.
Around Perth and the Swan Valley the variety has historically played a role similar to that it plays in South Africa, producing wines of no great character. The variety is reasonably popular in Margaret River where growers and winemakers have more of an eye for quality.
In the past Chenin was a major component of blended wines under the general heading of "Classic Dry White" which is popular in Western Australia. Houghtons White Burgundy was the most famous of these. Nowadays Chenin appears much less frequently in these blends.
Elsewhere in Australia the variety plays a minor role in a number of regions, but it is fair to say the Australia has yet to produce a great Chenin blanc. The possible exception being a one-off late harvest wine produced by St Leonards in the late 1970s. I recently tried a dry Chenin from the same maker and found it excellent.
Learn More about Grape varieties
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- Anderson Winery Rutherglen
- Aravina Margaret River
- Bacchus Hill Sunbury
- Ballandeen Estate Granite Belt
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- Bella Ridge Estate Swan District
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- Bremerton Langhorne Creek
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- Brown Brothers King Valley
- Cape Bouvard Peel
- Cape Grace Wines Margaret River
- Capel Vale Geographe
- Carlaminda Estate Geographe
- Carosa Perth Hills
- Chapman Valley Wines Central Western Australian Zone
- Chidlows Well Central Western Australian Zone
- Churchview Estate Margaret River
- Cofield Wines Rutherglen
- Coriole McLaren Vale
- Cushendell Southern Highlands
- Darling Estate King Valley
- Darlington Estate Perth Hills
- Dormilona Margaret River
- Dowie Doole McLaren Vale
- Fermoy Estate Margaret River
- Flying Fish Cove Margaret River
- Garbin Estate Swan Valley
- Goundrey Mount Barker
- Green Valley Vineyard Margaret River
- Gwynnyth Vineyards Pyrenees
- Happs Margaret River
- Harris Organic Wines Swan Valley
- Heafod Glen Winery Swan Valley
- Hotham Ridge Winery Peel
- Jane Brook Estate Swan Valley
- Jarrah Ridge Winery Perth Hills
- John Gehrig Wines King Valley
- John Kosovich Wines Swan Valley
- Jylland Vineyard Central Western Australian Zone
- Kalleske Wines Barossa Valley
- Kevin Sobels Wines Hunter Valley
- Kneedeep Margaret River
- Kyotmunga Estate Perth Hills
- Lamonts Swan Valley
- Lancaster Wines Swan Valley
- Las Vino Margaret River
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- Matilda's Estate Denmark
- Murray Estate Big Rivers Zone
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- Oakover Estate Swan Valley
- Olive Farm Swan District
- Pandemonium Estate Swan Valley
- Paul Conti Wines Greater Perth Zone
- Peel Estate Peel
- Peel Ridge Peel
- Peter Lehmann Barossa Valley
- Pikes Clare Valley
- Pinelli Swan Valley
- Pirramimma McLaren Vale
- Redgate Margaret River
- Romavilla Queensland Zone
- Rusden Wines Barossa Valley
- Scarpantoni Estate McLaren Vale
- Schwarz Wine Company Barossa Valley
- Settlers Ridge Margaret River
- Sevenhill Wines Clare Valley
- Sittella Swan Valley
- St Leonards Rutherglen
- Stakehill Estate Peel
- Talijancich Swan Valley
- Tassell Park Wines Margaret River
- Temple Bruer Langhorne Creek
- Tuart Ridge Peel
- Upper Reach Vineyard Swan Valley
- Vineyard 28 Geographe
- Willoughby Park Denmark
- Willow Bridge Estate Geographe
- Windy Creek Estate Swan Valley
- Woody Nook Margaret River
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