So what kind of a Chenin Blanc fan are you?

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Re: So what kind of a Chenin Blanc fan are you?

Postby Rahsaan » Tue Oct 19, 2010 11:42 am

Speaking of Baumard, this post gives some great confirmation for all those who have been criticizing the domaine over the years:

http://jimsloire.blogspot.com/2010/10/d ... haume.html
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Re: So what kind of a Chenin Blanc fan are you?

Postby Michael K » Tue Oct 19, 2010 12:43 pm

So I guess I'm just going to go back to Huet?? I would love to see those answers that Jim sent in his article too but suggest given the response, those answers may come from the critics when they try the wines.... too bad, Baumard has always been one of my favs.
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Re: So what kind of a Chenin Blanc fan are you?

Postby Bob Parsons Alberta » Tue Oct 19, 2010 8:50 pm

That is a very interesting piece on Jims blog. I wish he would post over here, he has so much Loire-savvy. He is a regular on a UK forum where he also follows up on dodgy operations that appear in the UK.
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Re: So what kind of a Chenin Blanc fan are you?

Postby John S » Wed Oct 20, 2010 2:06 am

I absolutely love Loire chenins, and have to admit that I'm a bit of a snob about other regions. Just like many pinot lovers are clear the holy grail is Burgundy, I'm convinced no other region comes close to the Loire for chenin blanc. But I hasten to add I'm willing to be converted! I had a trip to South Africa a few years ago, and was impressed by some of the chenin there, but I have yet to get the wonderfully wierd mix of wet wool, lanolin and minerals often found in the Loire, particularly savennieres.

I just had a 2003 Domaine du Closel Savennières Les Caillardieres (demi-sec) at a dinner party on the weekend. I have opened up at least 5 or 6 high quality savennieres for my wine group, and they have all been met with extreme indifference, and occasional downright hostility (mainly the oxidation issue). This was the first Loire chenin that really wowed them. It really was outstanding, with excellent complexity and power; the demi sec style was quite different from a normal bone dry savennieres, and perhaps it was that hint of off dry characteristic that made them take notice. It was one of the wines of the night, for sure, and one of my wines of the year. But I'm a sucker for a savennieres...

Unfortunately, few in BC seem to share my feelings: they stopped selling ANY savennieres, and it's hard to find anything else from the Loire here. A couple of Chinon and Vouvray, but that's about it. It drives me crazy!
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Re: So what kind of a Chenin Blanc fan are you?

Postby Tim York » Wed Oct 20, 2010 9:27 am

John S wrote: But I'm a sucker for a savennieres...

Unfortunately, few in BC seem to share my feelings: they stopped selling ANY savennieres, and it's hard to find anything else from the Loire here. A couple of Chinon and Vouvray, but that's about it. It drives me crazy!


John, Savennières can be wonderful but it is, in my experience, more often maddeningly inconsistent, even (or particularly) with the star producer Nicolas Joly of Coulée de Serrant. That may partly explain the reluctance of BC merchants to stock it and your difficulty in convincing your friends.

I'm more of a sucker for Vouvray when it comes from Huet, Foreau and Chidaine; I've never has a disappointment with any of their wines.
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Re: So what kind of a Chenin Blanc fan are you?

Postby James Roscoe » Wed Oct 20, 2010 10:23 am

Loire Chenins are my favorites, but I am not going to turn down New World Chenins, especially some of the newer ones from South Africa. I especially like Chenins with enough acidity to carry off the sweetness that some of them have. They are great food wines!
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Re: So what kind of a Chenin Blanc fan are you?

Postby David Mc » Wed Oct 20, 2010 11:19 am

I was studying Lorie this weekend so this thread is timely for me.

I have a question on the Loire Valley wines - are the sweetness levels (not sure what the correct term is) on the labels? For example, if I went to store and picked up a 2007 Chidaine Vouvray Argiles how do I know if it's a Sec, Demi Sec, etc? Is it on the label or do I use some other decoding method?

Thanks,

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Re: So what kind of a Chenin Blanc fan are you?

Postby Tim York » Wed Oct 20, 2010 11:28 am

David McIntire wrote:I was studying Lorie this weekend so this thread is timely for me.

I have a question on the Loire Valley wines - are the sweetness levels (not sure what the correct term is) on the labels? For example, if I went to store and picked up a 2007 Chidaine Vouvray Argiles how do I know if it's a Sec, Demi Sec, etc? Is it on the label or do I use some other decoding method?

Thanks,

Dave


The answer to your question is that it depends on the producer. For example, Huet and Foreau indicate sec, demi-sec, etc. but Chidaine doesn't. Maddening :evil: .

Those vintages which I have of Chidaine's V Argiles are dry.
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Re: So what kind of a Chenin Blanc fan are you?

Postby Rahsaan » Wed Oct 20, 2010 11:30 am

David McIntire wrote:I was studying Lorie this weekend so this thread is timely for me.

I have a question on the Loire Valley wines - are the sweetness levels (not sure what the correct term is) on the labels?


Depends on the producer.

For example, if I went to store and picked up a 2007 Chidaine Vouvray Argiles how do I know if it's a Sec, Demi Sec, etc? Dave


In the case of Chidaine, you have to ask someone more knowledgeable. Ideally the person who sold you the wine!

But, if I remember correctly, Les Argiles is usually dry, with just a touch of (often imperceptible) r.s.

Les Choisilles and Clos du Breuil are also usually dry and tend to be the raciest of the wines. Le Bouchet and Clos Habert are the richest, full-on demi-secs. And Les Tuffeaux and Les Bournais are inbetween, sec-tendre one might say. Not sure about Clos Baudoin. But of course vintage variation is key.
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Re: So what kind of a Chenin Blanc fan are you?

Postby John S » Wed Oct 20, 2010 1:52 pm

Tim York wrote:John, Savennières can be wonderful but it is, in my experience, more often maddeningly inconsistent, even (or particularly) with the star producer Nicolas Joly of Coulée de Serrant. That may partly explain the reluctance of BC merchants to stock it and your difficulty in convincing your friends.

I'm more of a sucker for Vouvray when it comes from Huet, Foreau and Chidaine; I've never has a disappointment with any of their wines.

I agree, savennieres can be maddening; oxidation is a real problem, just like white burgundies, and they can often go into long, closed phases. But when a bottle is on, wow!

Don't get me wrong, I love vouvray as well, and I agree they are more consistent, but despite its inconsistency - or maybe because of it, in some perverse way? - savennieres is still my favourite.
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Re: So what kind of a Chenin Blanc fan are you?

Postby Bob Parsons Alberta » Thu Oct 21, 2010 9:34 pm

Monsieur Baumard of Savennieres fame gets lots of press. Here is a nice piece from Chris Kissick, aka the Wine Doctor.

http://www.thewinedoctor.com/loire/baumard.shtml
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Re: So what kind of a Chenin Blanc fan are you?

Postby Tim York » Fri Oct 22, 2010 8:20 am

Chenin blanc Stellenbosch 2008 – Reyneke – Alc.13.5% (€16,50), grapes certified in conversion to organic.
Pairing with goat cheese based on my experience with Loire Chenin turned out to be a mistake. The burgeoning minerality and lively+ acidity, which make many from the Loire a wonderful match, were much more muted here and the cheeses (except a cow derived Gloucester) therefore tended to swamp the wine’s qualities. Here are my impressions gained as far away from cheese influence as possible.

The nose was strongly marked by baked apple and some pear. Body was medium/full, there was a little RS, I think, but not enough to disqualify the “dry” descriptor, a certain burnished richness of apply texture and an agreeably firm bitter touch on the finish which was probably due as much to alcohol as to backbone. A nice wine which would probably been better with a rich fish or chicken dish but not very exciting; 15/20. http://www.reynekewines.co.za/
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Re: So what kind of a Chenin Blanc fan are you?

Postby Bob Parsons Alberta » Fri Oct 22, 2010 9:50 am

Tim, I have noticed that some SA CB can get up to 14.5% alc. My Lammershoek is an example!
Not opened yet as I am on medication and must avoid all alcohol. Yikes!
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Re: So what kind of a Chenin Blanc fan are you?

Postby Tim York » Fri Oct 22, 2010 10:08 am

Bob Parsons Alberta. wrote:Not opened yet as I am on medication and must avoid all alcohol. Yikes!


:(
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Re: So what kind of a Chenin Blanc fan are you?

Postby Tim York » Sat Oct 23, 2010 6:50 am

Chenin blanc Stellenbosch 2008 – Reyneke. 24 hours later with a more suitable pairing of scampi in a creamy light curry sauce the remainder seemed much better with the nose better focused showing more evidence of minerality and better balance on the palate with the bitterness on the finish less marked; now 15.5/20.

And now for the "real thing", albeit an imperfect example.

Savennières Cuvée Spéciale 1996 - Château d'Epiré - Alc.13%. This estate was at that time a traditionalist which implied long closed periods and tolerance of a degree of oxidation in ageing. I bought some 95 Cuvée Spéciale at the same time as well as both 95 and 96 basic Savennières; most of the bottles of the first were, for me, unacceptably oxidised and the last two never seemed open up; the 96 Spéciale has been much better.
Colour was deep yellow and the nose was complex with nutty mature apple and pear mingled with honey, polished wax and flinty minerals but the nuttiness veered towards attractive sherry with more air, which is a sign of an onset of oxidation. Happily this sherry was hardly perceptible on the medium bodied dry palate which showed good "gras" (fat) and still quite crisp acidity as well as complex mature fruit and aromas as on the nose. Focus was a little diffuse for perfection but this is a good, if not outstanding, Savennières; 16/20++.

(NB - I don't get the wet wool descriptor in Chenin.)
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Re: So what kind of a Chenin Blanc fan are you?

Postby Bob Parsons Alberta » Sat Oct 23, 2010 1:56 pm

Tim. From my somewhat limited experience of SA CB I have found that this style of wine seems to stand up well overnight. Possibly it is the acidity that helps it along? I also like the idea of a light creamy sauce that is not too herbal in nature. The curry seems to work eh.
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Re: So what kind of a Chenin Blanc fan are you?

Postby Stanislav Rudy » Sat Oct 23, 2010 6:15 pm

Untill now I tried several Chenin Blanc wines, mostly from the Loire, only few from South Africa. The later were sometimes forgetable, but today the nice surprise.

2008 Unfiltered Chenin Blanc, Terroir Selection, Springfontein Estate, Wine of Origin Walker Bay, 13,5% alc., barrel-fermented, ageing 5 months in barriques (30% new), 6300 bottles produced. Maybe my first SA-Chenin Blanc with character and complexity, fine tropical fruits, some kind of nutty aromas, restrained oak, although partially new, very pleasing wine.
http://www.springfontein.co.za
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Re: So what kind of a Chenin Blanc fan are you?

Postby Peter May » Sun Oct 24, 2010 10:50 am

Tim York wrote:Chenin blanc Stellenbosch 2008 – Reyneke – Alc.13.5% (€16,50), grapes certified in conversion to organic.


Johan Reyneke walked me through his vineyards a couple of times. He's a passionate exponent of bio-dynamic farming and was growing organically prior to that. The 'in conversion' part is, I believe, a result of the lack of certifying agencies in that part of the world.

I became less sceptical about bio-dynamic after speaking with Johan: one concrete measurable benefit was the resulting dramatic reduction in water usage which brought the water company to his farm looking for leaking pipes.
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Re: So what kind of a Chenin Blanc fan are you?

Postby Bob Parsons Alberta » Sun Oct 24, 2010 9:33 pm

Seems we are still talking S Africa which is good. Chris Mullineux, owner of Mullineux winery, emailed me about which CBs to look out for. I quote......>

Hi Bob. For straight Chenin, I'd look out for Raats, Waterkloof, Reyneke, Jean Daneel, Secateurs, Kloof Street (our Mullineux second label), Lammershoek, and sometimes Ken Forrester (but not the FMC - it's over the top and over priced).

Hope that helps!


I have heard a lot about his straw wine, here is a link.

http://mullineuxwines.com/index.php?id=13
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Re: So what kind of a Chenin Blanc fan are you?

Postby CMMiller » Mon Oct 25, 2010 2:01 am

Vouvray, Montlouis and Savennieres are to Chenin Blanc as Chablis is to Chardonnay - the terroir and climate leave such an imprint on the wine flavor, it is almost like another variety. I don't drink Chablis for the same reasons as good Sonoma Coast Chardonnay or even Meursault. I like each of them, but for different reasons. Similarly, I don't look for the same things in a Vouvray and a South African Chenin Blanc. I love the zingy-mineral tone of young Vouvray/Montlouis, especially with certain foods (buttery fish, pate', etc.). Even better is the earthy-stony-honey-meadow complexity they gain with cellaring. This doesn't happen (IMHO) with New World Chenin, although they gain some interesting straw-meadow-dusty tones with age. On the other hand, some New World Chenins have delicious full-bodied fruit balanced with succulent acidity, like what unoaked California Chardonnay wants to be but rarely is. The Loire icons of Huet, Foreau, Chidaine have already been mentioned here. A couple of New World Chenins I really like are:

--Ballentine's Old Vine Napa Valley Chenin Blanc from the Pocai vineyard is consistently good, zesty, medium-bodied with some density yet very jolly upfront fruit. Dry but not austere in the manner of dry Loire Chenin.

--Ken Forrester's "Petit Chenin" from Stellenbosch is very tasty and quaffable, terrific melon-apple fruit, dry but again not austere.

Speaking of RS levels, while many Loire wines indicate Sec-DemiSec-Moelleux on the label, which is a decent rough indication of Dry-SemiSweet-Sweet, some don't. And the difference between a bone dry Sec and a Sec with some RS is pretty substantial, flavor-wise. I'd like to see them adopt a version of the IRF sweetness scale.
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Re: So what kind of a Chenin Blanc fan are you?

Postby Bob Parsons Alberta » Mon Oct 25, 2010 10:16 pm

Ballentine's used to be available here in AB, but have not seen for over a year! Agree with you about the Petit Chenin, very good value I find.

I found this blog today. Steen/CB info plus clone discussion......>

http://www.grape.org.za/users/tim_james ... lenge.html
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Re: So what kind of a Chenin Blanc fan are you?

Postby Dan Smothergill » Tue Oct 26, 2010 4:26 am

The variety of affordable high quality Chenin in the central Loire is hard to beat. We just scratched the surface in a week. After trying any number of the South Africa Chenins coming through our local retailers, Forester's Petit is the only one I look for any longer. I do have the feeling that a trip to SA might reveal a mini-Loire, but it's such a long time to hang in the sky. Dry Creek from California is consistently good. With so much wine from there why isn't there more good Chenin? Economics is the usual suspect, but it's hard to believe that the land is more valuable planted to the seemingly endless amount of cookie cutter Chardonnay. Another wine I do enjoy from California is Pine Ridge Chenin-Viognier. It's under $11 with various discounts here in Kalamazoo where we have been visiting, close enough to my 2 bottles for $20 rule.
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Re: So what kind of a Chenin Blanc fan are you?

Postby Bob Parsons Alberta » Tue Oct 26, 2010 9:56 am

Mulderbosch (SA) is well known for the Sauvignon Blanc and an excellent Cab Sauv Rose. A few weeks ago, the staff at a local store were humming and aaaghing about their Chenin Blanc so I decided to buy a bottle on the spot!

WTN: `08 Mulderbosch Chenin Blanc Steen op Hout, Stellenbosch.

13.5% alc, $22 Cdn , Diam cork, opened 30 mins, 6 months new oak (but one would never have guessed).

Color. Pale yellow, faint hints of green.

Nose. Peach, mineral, hint of lime, no wet wool.

Palate. Initial entry thought was off-dry, lengthy, apple, crisp, good acidity but not as dry as the Spier and Tim`s Reyneke. It took a while to fill out, I was not sure about the mid-palate but in an hour we were enjoying this wine with chicken , shrimp and asparagus. More tropical fruit with ripe BC apple and peach. Nice balance all round but "no wow for me" from across the table! It held up well overnight with more lime and guava on the finish.
I would like to put this alongside the Dry Creek and Ballentines from Calif.
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Re: So what kind of a Chenin Blanc fan are you?

Postby Peter May » Tue Oct 26, 2010 12:37 pm

Mulderbosch make two Chenins, one unoaked and your one -- Op Hout meaning with wood. It sabout the only SA wine bearing the Steen name.

Made to be off-dry, has some botrytised Chenin blended in.
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