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Shopping For Chenin

Three Chenins to pair with cuisine


While you probably won't find many examples of Chenin Blanc at your favorite wine shop, it's a grape you will find planted in regions around the world. From Washington to South Africa, France to California, Chenin Blanc has found a home. There are Chenin vineyards in Canada and even India. We tried examples from each of those regions, and while the grape is synonymous with Loire, our French entry just missed the cut.

2015 Dry Creek Vineyard Chenin Blanc, $12

The aromas are like a floral field of clover blossoms mingling with honeyed tropical fruit and mineral. Lean and lively in the mouth, it's marked by elegant ripe peach and balancing acidity on the finish. Something of a benchmark for California Chenin Blanc, Dry Creek has been producing its version since the early 1970s.

2014 Quails' Gate Chenin Blanc, $18

The aromas are somewhat subdued, offering crisp apple, honeycomb, mineral and slightly salty ocean breeze. The flavors are round and ripe with a lively core of peach playing against green apple and lime. The smooth finish lingers nicely. The Stewart family, owner of Quails' Gate, has been farming its land along the shore of Canada's Okanagan Lake since 1956.

2014 Valley Vineyards Wine Company, The Royal Chenin Blanc, $10

Chenin Blanc has a long history in South Africa, dating back several centuries, where it was originally called Steen. This West Cape version's unctuous stone fruit aromas are backed by lime and apple with touches of jalapeno and quinine. A bit of spicy pepper comes through on the otherwise fruit forward palate, where you get refreshingly crisp tropical fruit flavors.