An extremely versatile variety of grapes, Chenin Blanc is capable of making dry and crisp white wines that are great as an aperitif, through to medium, unctuous and sweet styles.
Due to the keeen and vibrant acidity often found in Chenin Blanc grape, they make brilliant food wines and can stay in good shape for many years after the vitange. The grape seems to thrive best in marginal climates, such as the Loire Valley. and on chalky soils. Along the Luire Valley, in Vouvray, Montlouis, Anjou, Bonnezeaux, Quarts de Chaume, and Coteaux du Layon, Chenin can be hugely complex and of great character. The most amazing quality of Chenin Blanc wines is their longenity. Curiously, they become sweeter rather than drier with age. These are wines that can really benefit from bottle amutration and consequently make really good presents for christening of naming cereminies! The best Chenin Blancs are some of the wine world's most undervalued treasures.
Less exciting wines are produced elsewhere. In South Africa for exemple, Chenin Blancs, known locally as Steen, often lack in complexity unless they are made from low-yielding bush vines, or the winemaking is in the capable hands of a conscientious producer. Old vine Chenin can take on another dimension when barrel fermentated or aged in oak.
Chenin Blanc wines are made in the Loire, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and California. The sweet wines are found in the Loire and South Africa.
Today world's most popular white grape, Chadonnay express its varietal character in many forms: from the racy, steely, and nervy wines of Chablis, to the fuller-bodied, buttery rich wine made in the Napa Vally, California.
This is an aromatic grape, which ripens early and is mostly grown in cool-climate vineyards. Its range extends from featherweight tangy, dry white wines like Sauvignon de Touraine, to the ripe, almost tropical-like fruitiness obtained in California, where the less common addition of oak is often adopted and labelled 'Fume Blanc'. Sauvignon Blanc thrives on chalk or gravel soil.
The Riesling grape is seen by many as the most versatile variety of white grape in the world. It is without doubt a class act with a number of strengths, not least its ability to outperform Chardonnay in the longevity stakes.
Arguably one fo the most underrated verieties of grapes, Sémillon, Bordeaux's most widely planted white grape, makes delicious dry and sweet wines. With an almost honeyed texture, Sémillon is often partnered by Sauvignon Blanc to lift the acidity, although Australian winemakers also blend Sémillon Trebbiano.
This distinctive grape variety is known by its friends simply as Gewürtz but sometimes also as Traminer. It provides interese aromas, reminiscent of lychee, rose petals and spice.