Learn all about the refreshingly acidic Chenin Blanc, key tasting notes and what dishes to serve with this delicious white wine.
Then, check out our BBC Good Food Wine Club. In partnership with Laithwaite’s, we’re offering discounts on exclusively curated cases of wine, chosen by wine experts and the BBC Good Food team, for you to subscribe to or buy as a gift. These curated cases come with pairing notes, the stories behind each bottle and serving suggestions. Your plan is customisable, plus Laithwaite’s will regularly send you exclusive offers on BBC Good Food collaboration cases.
What is Chenin Blanc wine?
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?
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.
Sign up to the BBC Good Food Wine Club
For more expertly selected bottles, become a member of the BBC Good Food Wine Club. It's simple really – wines from quality-focused, family-run wineries around the world. They've been hand-selected by our dedicated team of experts, so you can be sure that what you're getting will be unique, interesting and – above all – delicious.