So what kind of a Chenin Blanc fan are you?

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So what kind of a Chenin Blanc fan are you?

Postby Bob Parsons Alberta » Thu Oct 14, 2010 7:42 pm

I know many here are Loire-heads, naturally me too, but there are some terrific CBs coming out of S Africa as well. Even the other day there was a brief discussion about California so I am tempting you all to speak up and maybe even open a Chenin this weekend!

Lets see what we can find out there, or maybe lurking in the cellar!

Remember the Tukulu hullaballoo?

WTN: `08 Tukulu Chenin Blanc Papkuilsfontein, Darling SA.

Good natural cork, $22 Cdn, 13% alc. Food was chicken scallopini, marinaded with basil and lemon juice.

The color was a lime green with very faint lemon traces. On the nose, we found apricot, peach, quite an intense minerally CB nose here.
On the palate, dry, minerally, high acidity, zippy citrus finish. Non-oaked and thankfully no metallic taste here. As it aired (I served quite chilled), "some pear and apricot" from across the table. Medium-bodied, some surprising nutty taste after 3 hrs. I quite like this, only one store in town stocks this. I am not a big expert in SA CB yet but think this unoaked chenin might be typical?
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Re: So what kind of a Chenin Blanc fan are you?

Postby Rahsaan » Thu Oct 14, 2010 8:23 pm

Bob Parsons Alberta. wrote:I am not a big expert in SA CB yet but think this unoaked chenin might be typical?[/i]


I am not a big expert either but my understanding was always that there is a range of styles. Crisp unoaked ones like this and the richer 'higher-end' oaked cuvees. As usual.
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Re: So what kind of a Chenin Blanc fan are you?

Postby Bob Parsons Alberta » Thu Oct 14, 2010 8:36 pm

Good on you for joining in Rahsaan! Hopefully this might be an interesting thread. I do have a couple of oaked CBs here plus keen to open a Mulderbosch CB that is supposed to be top notch.
Betcha Tim is here by Friday lunchtime!
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Re: So what kind of a Chenin Blanc fan are you?

Postby Tim York » Fri Oct 15, 2010 5:43 am

My son is monopolising the computer and has buried all my bookmarks, so I have just found my way back here. By chance I drank a Savennières Roche aux Moines last night. Very nice and a TN will follow.

I too have little experience of SA Chenin but I did try one which I quite liked about a year ago but cannot remember the producer's name so digging the TN out will be difficult.

PS Not so difficult to find as I feared. Here is my TN of May 3, 2009 -

Lammershoek Chenin Blanc Barrique 2007 – Alc. 14.5% - (€11,50)
Reference to “barrique”, “roble”, “oak- ageing”, “fûts de chêne” always makes me suspicious, so I nearly abstained from buying this bottle in spite of recommendation. I’m glad I did buy it.
C: Light greenish yellow.
N: White fruit with notes of cigar box, sandalwood and nutmeg.
P: Medium bodied, slightly sweet with spicy fruit and a caressing mouth-feel playing variations on the aromas from the nose and showing complexity, good length and enough smooth acidity for balance. Not at all like a Loire chenin but my first from outside that area where I find real interest and character; 16/20 QPR.
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Re: So what kind of a Chenin Blanc fan are you?

Postby Peter May » Fri Oct 15, 2010 8:55 am

There is indeed a lot of Chenin in SAf of all types from the cheap to the expensive, excessively (IMO) oaked to unoaked, bone dry to very very sweet.

Many wineries produce two or more at different price points & styles. Ken Forrester is a name in point: he has a reputation for the variety and is currently the chair of the CB Association and produces 4 different Chenins, plus multiple others bottlings for shippers and supermarkets.

I like Chenin, think its underated. Its a choice lunchtime wine expecially if one is tasting & spitting reds all day. I am not up on Loire Chenins but had one on Sunday

Château Gaudrelle Réserve Spéciale 2008 Vouvray in a half bottle which I bought thinking it was a sweet dessert wine and was very dissapointed at lack of sweetness.
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Re: So what kind of a Chenin Blanc fan are you?

Postby Chris Kissack » Fri Oct 15, 2010 10:59 am

Peter, the 2008 Réserve Speciale does have 45 g/l of residual sugar so it certainly has some sweetness in there, but in truth 45 g/l may just not have been enough for what you were expecting. 2008 was a difficult vintage for producing really sweet wines and there are not many successful examples out there. The three Huet vineyards, for instance, yielded 54, 65 and 66 g/l for the three moelleux wines (including two première trie) in this vintage, and the highest I have seen is 100 g/l in the Gaudrelle Réserve Personelle (although if I remember rightly this was documented as 80 g/l when submitted to the Decanter World Wine Awards in which I judge the Loire wines - so I need to clarify with Alex Monmousseau/Charles Morand). Maybe try a different vintage (such as 2009) or perhaps look to the Layon for higher residual sugar?
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Re: So what kind of a Chenin Blanc fan are you?

Postby Carl Eppig » Fri Oct 15, 2010 11:52 am

Dry Creek Valley Vineyard. Have done Loire and South Africa, but will still go with the favorite.
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Re: So what kind of a Chenin Blanc fan are you?

Postby Tim York » Fri Oct 15, 2010 12:08 pm

Savennières Roche aux Moines Cuvée de l'Avant 1999 - Château de Chamboureau, P.Soulez - Alc.13.5% (c.€10 for 2005; Soulez' last vintage) - was a lovely Savennières with deep yellow colour, aromas of wax touched by honey and quince and a well balanced palate showing quite full body, decent length and rich, complex but dry consistency interlaced with smooth acidity and minerality. A fine effort in an average vintage; 16.5/20+++.

This estate is now owned Domaine FL with the Bordelais Stéphane Derenoncourt as consultant. I don't know whether the wines are as good as under Soulez but they are definitely more expensive.
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Re: So what kind of a Chenin Blanc fan are you?

Postby Peter May » Fri Oct 15, 2010 1:24 pm

Thanks Chris for the tech details. Shame they didn't see fit to put some info about sweetness on the back label.

Its a problem with varieties that are used to me variously sweet medium and dry wines.

The Riesling Foundation have done a tremendous job with producing their scale balancing RS and acidity to give consumers a true idea of where a wine sits on the sweet/dry balance.
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Re: So what kind of a Chenin Blanc fan are you?

Postby Tim York » Fri Oct 15, 2010 3:44 pm

Peter May wrote:Thanks Chris for the tech details. Shame they didn't see fit to put some info about sweetness on the back label.

Its a problem with varieties that are used to me variously sweet medium and dry wines.

The Riesling Foundation have done a tremendous job with producing their scale balancing RS and acidity to give consumers a true idea of where a wine sits on the sweet/dry balance.


This is a favourite beef of mine. It is often impossible to know how dry/sweet a white wine is from the label, particularly in the Loire valley and Alsace. Making use of the EU definitions mandatory in Europe would help, even though the compensating acidity level is relegated to the member states for demi-sec/medium dry and is not addressed at all for moelleux, into which category your Vouvray's sugar would make it fall.

The Riesling Foundation has indeed a great idea but it is not followed by anyone in Europe, AFAIK, though individual producers like Zind-Humbrecht have their own scales which are sometimes similar.
Last edited by Tim York on Sat Oct 16, 2010 6:21 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: So what kind of a Chenin Blanc fan are you?

Postby Michael K » Fri Oct 15, 2010 5:11 pm

I went to a Loire trade tasting in Boston the other day and had posted this elsewhere. It was held in the W hotel as noted before in a room much smaller than the old Ritz Taj room. Must be a sign of the times. I tasted though MANY wines, and will list some of them here with about as cryptic a set of notes as I've ever taken. Partially because the wine glasses were not cleaned very well, still strong with a detergent smell, that made nosing the wine difficult, generally making me mistrust was I smelled.

Overall, the 09 vintage appears to be quite nice, both with a good density of fruit and nice acidity. it made the 08's look dull in reference but the 07's still were very nice, especially the Chenin Blancs that I tasted.
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Re: So what kind of a Chenin Blanc fan are you?

Postby Lou Kessler » Fri Oct 15, 2010 8:54 pm

Don't drink that much Chenin but there is Huet and Joe Dressner's book. Those can make one smile for a long time. :D :wink:
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Re: So what kind of a Chenin Blanc fan are you?

Postby Tom N. » Fri Oct 15, 2010 11:23 pm

Hi Bob,

I don't drink a lot of chenin, but when I do I favor Vouvray. I like them dry and semidry. They are often an excellent match with seafood and lighter summer fare. I took one to the Noland brother's Thursday night party at MoCool this year just because I liked it and thought it was quite tasty. It was Domaine de la Pouvraie 2008 Vouvray. Expressive nose, fresh fruit midpalate with some sweetness (semidry) and a nice fruity acidic finish. It was a great match with pistachio-encrusted white fish. 11.5% abv and under $15 at LCBO. What's not to like?
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Re: So what kind of a Chenin Blanc fan are you?

Postby Bob Parsons Alberta » Sat Oct 16, 2010 3:57 am

Tim, Lammershoek had until recently a terrific winemaker but I hear he has moved on. They also produce (whisper)an excellent Pinotage, a wine that causes much mirth around here! (I checked Liquor Board site, might be some Lammerschoek in the west end).

Tom, a`99 Huet I opened a while back was badly oxidised.

As a matter of interest, Quails Gate in BC turns out an excellent bone dry CB. Have one in the cellar for down the road.
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Re: So what kind of a Chenin Blanc fan are you?

Postby Bob Parsons Alberta » Sun Oct 17, 2010 6:21 am

WTN: `09 Spier Chenin Blanc Stellenbosch.

Great value at $15 Cdn, SC, 13.5% alc, Lot 055. Very modern winery it seems with hotel, theatre, restaurants, sports facilities.

Color. Clear almost transparent, hint of green.

Nose. Some nice aromatics here. Pear, citrus, lime. Floral after an hour, no oak here. Still very good after 24 hrs.

Palate. Initial thoughts were quite dry, great acidity, long finish. "Great value for $15" from across the table. Some mineral tones here, unripe melon, apple of course. Not a fat style and drink now I guess. On day 2 still plenty of grip, no downturn in flavor profile.

**** with taxes etc here in this province, it is really difficult to find anything decent for around $15 Cdn so this is indeed exceptional.
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Re: So what kind of a Chenin Blanc fan are you?

Postby Tim York » Sun Oct 17, 2010 3:51 pm

Saumur L’Insolite 2006 – Domaine des Roches Neuves, Thierry Germain – Alc.13% - (€14,30). This is my sort of Chenin in its bone dry mode. About 6 months ago, I found a bottle of this somewhat muted but this one was singing. Gravelly minerals were very prominent in the aromas but were underpinned by floral and round white fruit notes. The palate was medium/light bodied and invigorating with crisp but non astringent acidity, more gravelly minerals and a certain weight of fruit with faint mango, pear and quince notes providing some fat. The finish had backbone and good length. Classy 16/20++ QPR!
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Re: So what kind of a Chenin Blanc fan are you?

Postby Bob Parsons Alberta » Mon Oct 18, 2010 1:50 am

Tim, is all Saumur Chenin Blanc?
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Re: So what kind of a Chenin Blanc fan are you?

Postby Tim York » Mon Oct 18, 2010 3:17 am

Bob Parsons Alberta. wrote:Tim, is all Saumur Chenin Blanc?


The whites are Chenin and the reds Cabernet franc. I think that there are more distinguished whites than reds in this appellation, e.g. offhand I can enumerate this one, Ch.de Villneuve's basic and Cormiers cuvées and Clos Rougeard's Brézé but no reds. All the best reds seem to be Saumur-Champigny.
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Re: So what kind of a Chenin Blanc fan are you?

Postby Tim York » Mon Oct 18, 2010 5:27 am

I suddenly recall that last Monday I tasted a range of wines including some Chenin from the Languedoc appellation Limoux. It is one of the authorised white varieties here alongside Mauzac and Chardonnay. I'll try to dig out my notes but it is probably obvious that the wines did not leave an imperishable impression.
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Re: So what kind of a Chenin Blanc fan are you?

Postby Tim York » Mon Oct 18, 2010 10:19 am

Château Rives-Blanques, Limoux

Limoux is located inland in Languedoc, south of Carcassonne at altitudes of between 200 & 300 metres and is probably best known for its sparking Blanquette de Limoux. This estate is owned by an Anglo-Dutch couple, Jan and Caryl Panman http://www.rives-blanques.com/ . In whites, the appellation Limoux allows Chenin blanc, Chardonnay or Mauzac with, according to the Limoux website, a minimum of 15% of Mauzac; this last stipulation seems to be often ignored.

There was Chenin blanc in the four following wines tasted in the presence of Caryl Panman.

VdP d'Oc Limouxin 2009 (€7), from Chard and CB, was Chard in character in so far as it had much; 14/20.
Limoux Cuvée Dédicace 2007 (€11), from CB 100%, was much better with a generous palate showing some honeyed and citrus notes and a tangy finish; unsurprisingly less minerality and acidity than in most from the Loire but decent in those departments; 15.5/20.
Limoux Cuvée la Trilogie 2008 (€19), from the three authorised varieties, was the most complex with grip, roundness and flesh; 16/20.
Moelleux Cuvée Vendange d'Hiver Xaxa 2004 (€17), from CB and Mauzac, was very sweet with attractive malt, raisin and marmalade notes; 15.5/20+.
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Re: So what kind of a Chenin Blanc fan are you?

Postby Doug Surplus » Mon Oct 18, 2010 3:01 pm

Carl Eppig wrote:Dry Creek Valley Vineyard. Have done Loire and South Africa, but will still go with the favorite.


My fave as well. However, if you can find it, Te Arai (sp?) from New Zealand has produced some rather stunning Chenin. (Waiting for the NZ contingent to chime in)
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Re: So what kind of a Chenin Blanc fan are you?

Postby Andrew Bair » Tue Oct 19, 2010 12:04 am

I like Chenin Blanc, and probably don't drink it as much as I should. As far as dry Chenins, Savennières is definitely my favorite, although white Chinon can also be very appealing to me, and there are some Anjous, Saumurs, and dry Vouvrays that I also like. In my experience, some dry Vouvrays and Montlouis seem to accentuate too much of the "wet wool" characteristic of Chenin when young, that I am not compelled to buy and cellar them. This is an area that I probably should gain more experience with - I could probably get a better appreciation for Vouvray Sec by trying an aged example.

I have had some nice sparkling Chenins, especially Huet's Vouvray Petillant. There are also some demi-sec Vouvrays and Moutlouis that I have enjoyed from the likes of Chidaine.

Probably my favorite Chenin Blancs are sweet wines like Vouvray Moelleux, Quarts du Chaume, and Coteaux du Layon.

Regrettably, I have not had any Chenin Blancs from outside of the Loire Valley that have stood out to me. California does not seem particularly interested in Chenin yet, except as a fighting varietal, and I am probably less familiar with South African wines than those of any other major wine producing country.
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Re: So what kind of a Chenin Blanc fan are you?

Postby Bob Parsons Alberta » Tue Oct 19, 2010 12:59 am

I have been an infrequent taster of S African CB but have always enjoyed the experience. I have never quite got to grips with Ken Forresters wines but to be honest I have only seen his entry-level CB and Petit Chenin so far. One can go from dry to sweet, sparkling to late-harvest so the range is quite vibrant. This blog seems to have the right tone.....>

http://i-winereview.blogspot.com/2010/0 ... st_13.html
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Re: So what kind of a Chenin Blanc fan are you?

Postby Ben Rotter » Tue Oct 19, 2010 5:51 am

I'd side more with the Loire (sweet and dry), but it's been a while since I had a S. African - which S. African producers are considered to make the most interesting Chenin these days?

Domaine des Baumard Savennières Trie Speciale 2000
(Drunk from 19°C/66°F - and quite nice at that temperature.)

Pale golden yellow.
A subtle dried-out white flower aroma along with heather honey, wax, and maybe even some marzipan or nutty pastry and damp wood.
Full, even luscious, and yet somehow not too heavy at the same time, with well balanced acidity that runs throughout the palate and then goes all lemony in the finish. Complex (retro-nasal) flavours of honey, sweet butter, wax, a little lanolin and those dried white flowers, and it also seems to gain some weight on the back palate.
It starts out feeling somewhat generous, and yet it's reasonably tight at the same time... that's part of what makes it interesting. And it is interesting, even if the finish is a bit sharp for me. It actually feels like pretty ripe fruit, but in the way that a perfectly ripe Jospehine pear has a kind of "lightness to its ripeness" of gentle autumnal nature, rather than a brazen (yes, I might go as far as to say that) confected-fruit ripeness that is obvious and boring. Put me in mind of crisp yellow autumn.

With some goat cheese, it was a lot smoother.

For Savennières lovers, it is perhaps a riper and somewhat broader/richer style (with the tries and some Botrytis influence), but interesting for it.

Coincidentally, I had previously checked out The Wine Doctor's note on this wine and thought he summed it up, like many Loire wines (at least for my taste), fairly well ;)

Thanks for the thread Bob.
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