Chenin Blanc wine grape

Chenin Blanc
Native to the Loire Valley of France (it's the grape of Vouvray and a host of other Loire AOCs), this is also the trademark grape of South Africa, where it accounts for one vine in five. There are also significant, though declining, plantings in California and Australia.

Chenin Blanc is perhaps the world's most versatile white grape, producing wines ranging from bone-dry to intensely sweet. Even its dry wines cover a range of styles from fresh and fruity to full and oaky, and it also makes lovely sparkling wine, chiefly in the Loire. But throughout all its various guises it retains its characteristic high acidity.

It has a tendency to overproduce, which dilutes its flavours. If yields are kept low (and old vines really help here) it can produce great wine, having a unique combination of flowers, honey, green apples and damp straw. Chenin is prone to noble rot which, combined with its high acidity, allows it to make some of the greatest sweet wines in the world, capable of lasting for a century.

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