Learn all about the refreshingly acidic Chenin Blanc, key tasting notes and what dishes to serve with this delicious white wine.


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What is Chenin Blanc wine?

White grapes on table

Chenin Blanc is one of the wine world’s great all-rounders: dry, sweet, sparkling, still, oaked, unoaked, on its own, in a blend – it can do it all. Its home is the Loire in France, but you’re most likely to encounter it in South Africa and cooler parts of Australia. You’ll recognise Chenin Blanc from its refreshing acidity and distinctive apple-like fruit.

In the Loire, Chenin is used in a broad range of wines. It’s commonly a solo performer in Saumur, Anjou and Vouvray. Confusingly, Chenins from the Loire, like Vouvray, can range from fully dry (sec) to off-dry (demi-sec), or very sweet (moelleux) – check the bottle. Crémant de Loire and Saumur sparkling wines are often Chenin-based and an affordable alternative to champagne. In South Africa, nearly 20 per cent of vineyards are planted with Chenin. It was originally planted to make brandy, but now produces some of the world’s most characterful wines.

What does Chenin Blanc wine taste like?

Chenin has a distinct apple taste with mouth-watering acidity, like biting into a Granny Smith. In warmer climates, you might get tropical fruit notes, such as pineapple. Some South African examples are oaked and have spice notes. Sweeter ones, like Bonnezeaux and Quarts de Chaume, taste of honey and marmalade. The driest wines are from Savennières and have such firm acidity that they need time in the bottle to soften.

What dishes go well with Chenin Blanc wine?

Shortcrust pastry pie with lamb, peas and mint filling

Don’t serve it too cold – around 7-10C is ideal. Take it out of the fridge 20 minutes before drinking. Chenin’s acidity makes it versatile and a good match for fatty foods. Why not pair this delicious wine with one of our tender slow cooker lamb shanks. The meat is so tender and juicy that it will fall away from the bone. Or, for a twist on the classic lamb shank, turn it into a hearty pie with shortcrust suet pastry, peas and mint with our freezable lamb shank, pea & mint pie.

Chenin Blanc also pairs well with goat’s cheese. Our goat’s cheese & thyme stuffed chicken is a great date night dish as it serves two, yet the recipe can easily be doubled for more company. The salty bacon and goat's cheese perfectly balance the roasted vegetables' sweetness. For a vegetarian option, pair this acidic wine with our baked ratatouille & goat's cheese, which counts as three of your five-a-day.

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