Pronounced Shay-naN-BlaN. A grape varietal, used in the production of white wine, originating in the Loire region of France. The grape is also grown in the United States (specifically California), South Africa, Chile, Australia, and New Zealand. 100% Chenin Blanc is labeled Vouvray (a town in the Loire region of France) and Savennieres. Most often the varietal is blended with many different varietals to produce domestic Chablis, California sparkling wines, and cheap jug wines.
Also known as: Steen, Pineau de la Loire, Pineau de Savenniéres, White Pinot, Pinot Blanco, Pineau d’Anjou, and Gros Pineau d Vouvray.
Characteristics: Chenin Blanc produces varying styles and qualities. Chenin Blanc is the base grape for many superior French wines and is also used to enhance jug wines produced in the United States. Those French wines considered superior include those from Savenniéres, Vouvray and Coteaux du Layon. The French Chenin Blanc is a naturally high acidic grape varietal that produces dry to moderately sweet whites that are typically fruity, crisp, fragrant and spicey.
Ageing: Chenin Blanc ages well, 2 -5 years is typical for average quality versions. Sweeter, higher quality French Chenin Blanc can age for 20 years or more.
Serving temperature: Serve at a temperature of 40º-45º F.
Food pairings: Light rice dishes, salads, seafood, poultry, ham, and spicey foods.