Chenin Blanc-the noble white grape that traces its’ origins to the Loire Valley in France has historically fallen a little under the radar. It seems though that Chenin is about to have its’ moment as international wine drinkers who are looking for something familiar but just a little different have found their foil. Part of the attraction is that much like Riesling the grape is so versatile. Depending on the winemaker Chenin can deliver a bone dry experience or a sweet unctuous product…and everything in between. I found two excellent bottles that showcase the grape.

First going to the source I found a Vouvray de la Gaverie Sec from the Loire Valley. This was a delicious redolent of honey and spiced apples but finished bone dry.

Chenin Blanc is the most widely planted white grape in South African where it is called “Steen”.

Transchhoek Cellar’s “La Cote Mill” from the Western Cape tasted of pineapple, peaches, nectarines and tropical fruit. It had more fruit than the Vouvray but still had a refreshing bracing acidity on the finish.

Both samples would be great matches with sushi, grilled fish and roast chicken.

The Granddaddy of all Chenin Blancs is a Vouvray called Coulee de Serrant. There is only 7 hectares of it but the stunning complexity of the wine accounts for its reputation as one of the great wines of the world (with a price to match.)

Transchhoek Cellars La Cote Mill Chenin Blanc

Consignment   $11.50

Vouvray de la Gaverie Sec

LCBO  (Vintages) 635847 $19.95

Coulee de Serrant

LCBO (Vintages) 590124 $153.00