Chenin is coming of age

Monday, 13 May, 2013
Independent Online
Investing in chenin, lifting its quality, putting it up there with other great white wines of the world.
These are the aims of the Chenin Blanc Association, formed 13 years ago by a small group of dedicated producers.

Today, membership has reached 95 and, given the range and choice available, it’s clear that more cellars are choosing to focus on quality chenin blancs.

From the consumer point of view, there’s still some educating required.

Because chenin has long been the largest cultivar in production, accounting for nearly 30 percent of our white wine, and 20 percent of all production, used mostly for brandy and as a blending component of cheap whites, the grape is regarded as a lowly workhorse by many. But, the perception is changing, thanks to innovative winemaking and research by the association and the University of Stellenbosch, which has proven that this versatile grape is capable of producing superb quality in styles that range from fresh and fruity to rich and complex.

Brilliant chenin dessert wines are on the market and a few bubblies are adding a further category.

On the down side, this choice adds to customer confusion, and it’s clear that simply written information on style is needed on chenin labels. Similar guides on store shelves would also help.

The chenin renaissance, rooted in the 1990s, is coming of age...Read on.
Ken Forrester Reserve Chenin Blanc
Ken Forrester Reserve Chenin Blanc

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