Wine 101 : Meet Chenin Blanc

Wine can be intimidating – at KWV, we understand this. Our aim is to demystify wine, and to make it less daunting and therefore more enjoyable. We want you to be confident about your wine choices and to have some fun with wine; explore the various varietals of wine offerings and make your choice of the tastes which you prefer - is it sweet, peppery or fruity?

Meet Chenin Blanc. Chenin Blanc and South Africa have a close-knit relationship. The varietal is the most widely cultivated vine in the country – and is thought to be one of the most multi-faceted worldwide. It can deliver extremely dry wine, sweet white wine, sparkling wine and dessert wine as well as spirits such as brandy or sherry.

Chenin suits most terroirs but will show clear difference in flavour profiles and styles. KWV Classic Chenin is rooted in the Swartland region with some support from the Wellington and Breedekloof regions.

“Chenin Blanc is the typical farm girl,” says Marco Ventrella, KWV Viticulturist, “she can braai better than the men, will clean up on a pool table, and handles supermom duties with a smile.”

Chenin Blanc was born in the Loire Valley of France.  During its time in France it was mostly cultivated for use as a sweet wine grape used to makes sparkling and dessert wines.  Then, in 1965 Jan van Riebeeck brought the grapes to South Africa, and planted them at his home vineyard.

Flavours and aromas of Chenin Blanc wine includes fruit, honey and grasses.  Other characteristics include an oily texture, high acidity, and a deep gold colouring.  It’s a wine with a bright fruit profile ranging from guava to pineapple and hints of grapefruit punch. Rounder than Sauvignon Blanc with more palate weight and less acidity. 

Chenin is the perfect picnic wine and pairs perfectly with salty cured meats and absolutely any cheese because the acid of the wine cuts through the creaminess.

“Chenin is great with Thai styled curries, smoked chicken citrus salads, chilli garlic calamari or a good old roast chicken,” says Ventrella.

However, Chenin is also a good wine to enjoy throughout the meal -  it is a refreshing wine that cleans the palate and prepares you for the next bite.

For information on KWV wines have a look at our online shop.

KWV Classic Collection Chenin Blanc