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Chenin Blanc

The Chenin Blanc grape is one of the most original and interesting white varieties on the French wine scene, and is used in the production of various expressive styles: botrytised, sweet, sparkling and white. Native to the Loire Valley and also known as Pineau de la Loire, it can also be found in South Africa, Australia and some parts of South America. It's a very versatile, high-yielding, thin-skinned grape that likes a cool climate and the ocean, although it doesn't mind heat. It has a pronounced freshness and a propensity to develop Botrytis, as it ripens late and is able to concentrate the sugar well, without losing its decisive freshness. It is precisely because of these qualities that it is a contender, along with the Riesling grape, as one of the most long-lived white wines in the world, remaining young even after several years!

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The Chenin Blanc grape is one of the most original and interesting white varieties on the French wine scene, and is used in the production of various expressive styles: botrytised, sweet, sparkling and white. Native to the Loire Valley and also known as Pineau de la Loire, it can also be found in South Africa, Australia and some parts of South America. It's a very versatile, high-yielding, thin-skinned grape that likes a cool climate and the ocean, although it doesn't mind heat. It has a pronounced freshness and a propensity to develop Botrytis, as it ripens late and is able to concentrate the sugar well, without losing its decisive freshness. It is precisely because of these qualities that it is a contender, along with the Riesling grape, as one of the most long-lived white wines in the world, remaining young even after several years!

The Grape Variety from the "Middle of the River": the Chenin Blanc of the Loire Valley

In the far north of France, in the heart of the Loire Valley, which is the third largest production region, is where the Chenin Blanc grape originates. It is one of the oldest white grapes in the country, dating back as far as the 6th century. It is here, at the southern end of the vine-growing spectrum, that this grape has found its home, benefiting from the area's cool, Atlantic and decidedly humid climate. It is precisely this latter characteristic that triggers the development of the noble rot, the famous Botrytis Cinerea, which, taking advantage of the thin skin of the grape, easily attacks the bunches, producing the famous "muffati" or "moelleux", with their sweet heart and acidic edge. Without mould, a white wine of great character and distinct freshness is created, which is characterised by a saline-mineral note and rich, intense aromas of honey, sweet fruit and flowers that may even include hints of smoke, bitter herbs, sugared almonds and an animal element. Thanks to this exuberant freshness, it is long-lasting and only expresses itself after years of ageing in the bottle, similar to the great long-lived Mosel Rieslings. Its cultivation is concentrated in the central regions of the Loire, more precisely in the Touraine and Anjou-Saumur areas, with some settlements also in the Pays Nantais area, which is closest to the Atlantic Ocean. The best examples come from Vouvray, Montlouis-sur-Loire and the small area of Savennières, where the legendary wines of Nicolas Joly - Clos de la Coulée de Serrant - are produced. The terroir is extremely varied and differently structured, with a rich mineral content, a more or less abundant presence of limestone and the presence of slate, which is also present in the Moselle region.


Unique Characteristics

The Chenin Blanc is a very emblematic white grape variety that is difficult to understand and whose expressiveness is highly ambivalent. It has no real identity, despite its recognisable taste, and can be found in various types of French wines: sparkling, sweet and still. Additionally, it is a very versatile variety with high yields that germinates early and matures late, preferring the cool, humid climate but also appreciating the heat of Africa, South America and Australia. It also has a decidedly acidic and sugary concentration as the former cannot exist without the latter and vice versa. In addition, although it is not an aromatic variety, it has a strong aromatic character. It is capable of adapting extraordinarily well to all the territories where it is grown, conveying all the typical nuances of the terroir in the glass. On its own, it is a grape that gives a unique, intense flavour, which may be rounded off and softened if blended with Chardonnay grapes.


Colours, Aromas and Tastes

The colour of the Chenin Blanc varies according to the type of production. The dry and sparkling versions, produced in France, colour the glass with a brilliant straw yellow, a white wine with slight greenish tints. In warmer climates, it turns golden, becoming even more intense and amber-coloured in the mouldy and sweet versions. On the nose, it is pleasantly aromatic without being overly persuasive. In dry and frothy versions, it reveals a typically fruity aromatic profile, with notes of citrus, quince, melon and apricot. When aged in wood or in the bottle, it acquires a more mature olfactory profile, developing aromas of acacia honey, candied sugar, musk and dried herbs. The passito versions also reveal sweeter notes of spices, vanilla, liquorice and dried grapes. In all cases, the taste is characterised by a strong acidic element. They range from the lightest, creamiest and most fragrant styles to those that are more robust and structured, although they all share the same irresistible, bursting acidity and mineral, savoury undertones.

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