Taste: Floral aromas with apple, citrus and tropical fruit flavors of lemon, honeydew melon, quince and pineapple together with a flinty minerality.
Dry / Sweet: Medium-dry (sweet to taste).
Age: Has great aging potential. Most wines require several years of bottle aging to soften their acidity and add richness and complexity.
Chenin Blanc (SHEN-in BLAHN) is perhaps the most versatile of all grape varieties and capable of producing a broad range of wines from dry and medium-dry to intensely sweet Dessert wines, as well as Sparkling wines.
Its home is the Loire region of France where, in the Aromatic style, it makes medium-dry wines (which have a touch of sweetness to balance their acidity) with floral aromas combined with apple, citrus and tropical fruit flavors of lemon, honeydew melon, quince and pineapple. These flavors may be accompanied by some vegetal aromas and a flinty minerality. Acidity is high, giving Chenin Blanc great aging potential.
The most typical expression of Aromatic Chenin Blanc is found in the Vouvray appellation in the Touraine district of the Loire Valley, which is almost totally dedicated to the production of this grape variety. Most medium-dry wines require several years of bottle aging, while the best will need at least ten years and can stay at their peak for a quarter of a century or more.
As Chenin Blanc is made in different styles, look out for a reference to the level of sweetness on the label. In the Loire this is indicated by the terms Sec (dry), Demi-Sec (medium-dry), Moelleux (medium-sweet), and Doux (sweet). Due to the very high levels of natural acidity in Chenin Blanc, medium-dry wines can often taste dry.
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