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Chenin Blanc is a versatile white wine grape from the Loire Valley of France. Excellent examples of this wine are grown all over the world and are made in an array of styles.
The Loire Valley has a cool climate, which allows winemakers to create some of the world’s most coveted Chenin Blanc. Producers in this region use the grape to make dry, sweet and even sparkling versions of this wine.
Today, South Africa is Chenin’s largest producer. The region’s warm weather leads to a riper, more tropical Chenin Blanc, where the grape’s natural sweetness works in tandem with its high acidity. These balanced, mineral-forward expressions are perfect for hot weather.
California is another notable region for high-quality Chenin Blanc. Previously, winemakers used the grape primarily for blending. Now, however, winemakers across the state release varietal and single-vineyard Chenin.
Here are some of our favorite bottles for hot summer days.
Brash Higgins 2019 CHN Willamba Hill Vineyard Chenin Blanc (McLaren Vale); $36. Find at Wine-Searcher. Native yeast, a touch of skin contact and some barrel ferment make this amber-hued wine an intense and wild bottling… SEE SCORE AND FULL REVIEW
Center of Effort 2020 Oro Bianco Chenin Blanc (Edna Valley); $30. Find at Center of Effort. Light in the glass, this white begins with clean, direct and fascinating aromas of chalk, nectarine, white blossom and a hint of toast… SEE SCORE AND FULL REVIEW
Chappellet 2020 Signature Chenin Blanc (Napa Valley); $40. Find at Wine-Searcher. From estate grown fruit on Pritchard Hill, this perennially delicious white impresses yet again… SEE SCORE AND FULL REVIEW
Château de Valmer NV Brut (Vouvray); $20. Find at Wine-Searcher. This wine has texture, freshness and tight acidity. Along with crispness, it offers green fruits… SEE SCORE AND FULL REVIEW
Château Gaudrelle 2018 Clos le Vigneau (Vouvray); $26. Find at Total Wine & More. Produced by Alexandre Monmousseau, scion of a distinguished local family, this wine is ripe, full-bodied and splendidly rich… SEE SCORE AND FULL REVIEW
Domaine de Brizé 2018 Loire Renaissance Chenin Blanc (Anjou); $41. Find at Vivino. Fermented and aged in wood, this is a powerful, ripe wine. Intense apple and citrus acidity… SEE SCORE AND FULL REVIEW
Domaine de l’Enchantoir 2019 Terres Blanches (Saumur); $20. Find at Wine-Searcher. Matured on its lees to give extra richness, this wine is packed with mango and yellow fruits as well as citrus… SEE SCORE AND FULL REVIEW
Lang & Reed 2018 Chenin Blanc (Napa Valley); $35. Find at Wine-Searcher. This 100% varietal white is aged for four months in both French oak and stainless steel, giving it a persistent freshness and nice fruity appeal… SEE SCORE AND FULL REVIEW
Lubanzi 2020 Chenin Blanc (Swartland); $18. Find at Wine-Searcher. There’s a vibrant floral element to the bouquet of this pretty white, with supporting tones of freshly cut pear, peach and white melon… SEE SCORE AND FULL REVIEW
Raats Family 2017 Old Vine Chenin Blanc (Stellenbosch); $25. Find at Wine-Searcher. On first sniff, a soft wood note jumps from the glass, but once you look past that, you get to toasted apple slices, orange peel and Honeycomb cereal tones beneath, with hints of dried fynbos, sage and lemon wax at the back… SEE SCORE AND FULL REVIEW
Rococo 2020 Own Rooted Chenin Blanc (Santa Barbara County); $24. Find at Rococo. Quite light in the glass, this wine, from own-rooted vines planted in 1974 near Los Alamos, opens with clean, delicate lines of peach blossom and honeysuckle on the nose… SEE SCORE AND FULL REVIEW