Born in the Loire Valley of France, Chenin Blanc is a white grape with a long history, tracing as far back as the 9th century. During its time in France, the white wine grape was mostly used to make sparkling and dessert wines. However, this began to change when Chenin Blanc was taken to South Africa in 1655.
Taken and first planted in his garden in South Africa by Jan Van Riebeeck, the grape’s ease of growth and high acidity helped it spread through the region. In fact, South Africa is still the largest Chenin Blanc producer. In the beginning, it was largely used in brandy production, but it changed in the late 20th century.
At that point of time, South Africa had started turning into a respected and affordable wine region, much like Chile and Argentina. As a result, local winemakers started looking for a grape to call their own.
Due to the widespread availability of Chenin Blanc in the country, it’s became the obvious choice. After experimenting with the grape, the wine producers of South Africa managed to create a dry, crisp wine that’s similar to the famous Pinot Grigio and Sauvignon Blanc. It’s gotten a great deal of positive feedback and praise, which resulted in South Africa quickly becoming the largest Chenin Blanc producer worldwide.
Most Chenin Blanc we love so much these days is coming from South Africa due to its excellent flavour profile and the cost of the wine. Most bottles you’ll find go for under $20.00.
The white wine has tropical fruit flavours of banana, melon, pineapple and green apple. Chenin Blanc goes well with most food but tastes the best when paired with fish and poultry.
If you’d like to try a bottle, buy Chenin Blanc at the ZYN liquor store in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, or shop online at ZYN.ca!