Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Is Chenin Blanc the most versatile wine?

I often go for a dry Chenin Blanc for pairing with seafood. it has so many flavors though. It's full-bodied yet crisp, aromatic, lively and complex. It is a wine of excellent quality. The talking points on the fruits such as pear, quince, pineapple and apple flavors and regions of the wine make so it can be explained to regular wine drinkers.  "How in the world does a Macintosh apple get in a white wine from France?" Also, the can wine get very interesting as it ages.

Chenin Blanc goes with everything from rich scallops, shrimp to delicate filet of sole. Look to France's Loire Valley for this wine or South Africa; some California. It is a good Cheese. Ideal serving temperature for the wine 45ºF- 50º . It can be stored a little lower than that.

Retail is usually $25 and up. It has several styles dry to sweet and you can also find good values at lower price points. Use a white wine glass, like a Chardonnay style; although since it can be fuller and viscous and has those fruit aromas; try a Bordeaux glass just for kicks to show it off to friends or customers. Try it with a country fried veal steak and mashed potatoes or Gyro meat!

In the olden days in France they used to try to hide the acidity of the under ripe grapes in parts of the Loire. Now the less ripe grapes are made into awesome sparkling wines like Cremant de Loire. In Anjou you'll find the I think best expressions of dry Chenin Blanc with the quince and apple flavors sometimes flowers and honeysuckle; which in Vouvray they get that style and can even get Noble Rot to make great dessert wine which evolves and improves with age. Very versatile; Don't you think?!?

PS: There so much you can write about this place! ... but I'll be brief... there is a favored place within Chaume in the Loire that has a separate appellation called Quarts de Chaume which pays attention to grape maturity an the yield can be lower; which can mean the wine can age for years and years. Try to find one of those to drink now and another to lay it down.

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