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Wine Park

Tune In On Unsung Chenin Blanc

Accord France’s most underrated white wine its proper due and a breezy tasting of its inimitable styles on the day the rest of the world’s doing the same. Happy International Chenin Blanc Day.
Being born into an illustrious family is boon and bane in near equal measure as there’s so many brilliant peers to compete with, someone is always left behind. That’s the somewhat accurate personification of the Chenin Blanc grape, a Loire Valley original from central France that doesn’t sit in the spotlight nearly as much as white counterparts Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Riesling. Not just in France but the world over too, Chenin Blanc wasn’t as widely planted — South Africa championed the white grape and rechristened it, Steen. And then there’s India where Chenin Blanc found itself at the centre of the country’s vinous beginnings and became its most widely planted white grape and rite of passage for anyone breaking into Indian wine. So, this International Chenin Blanc Day, let’s uncork four of Wine Park’s choicest styles of the delicious white ferment. A good day to know and love Chenin, then.
Man Family Sparkling Chenin Blanc, 2021
Man Family is a hip estate that pours plenty fun and charm into each of their ferments and this superb new world sparkler is not exception to this pleasing rule. Produced in South Africa’s famous Stellenbosch region which is best known as ‘Cab’ country, Man Family winemaker Riaan Möller nails the style by balancing pure bubbling exuberance with a spray of flavours like lime, apple and pear, cradled by zesty texture. This vintage Chenin Blanc sparkler is one for the occasion that’s all about fun and putting the feet up, just like Man Family rolls.
Domaine Guiberteau Saumur Blanc 2021
Saumur is, interestingly, Middle Loire’s foremost appellation for making bright sparkling wine yet Loire Valley cult winemaker Romain Guiberteau has accomplished a grand and organic still Chenin in bubbly country. Guiberteau has in fact helped shape the second coming of the Loire Valley Chenin Blanc on his family’s estate in the notable region of Brézé. The flint rich soils impart the wine with distinct minerality to go with citrus and peach, capped by crackling acidity, finishing clean.
Man Family Free Run Steen Chenin Blanc 2022
South Africa didn’t just take the new world lead in embracing Chenin Blanc, she rechristened the French native Steen and fashioned a cool modern style that shines with plentiful fruit and gushing acidity. And no bottle expresses all that better than Man Family’s flagship expression. Produced in Paarl which neighbours prestigious Stellenbosch, there’s lots of sun and ocean breeze to nurture and ripe grapes that eventually turn into a white, teeming with high notes of pear, pineapple and apples, elevated by acid zip and minerality.
Robertson Winery, Natural Sweet White Wine NV
Robertson Winery, Natural Sweet White Wine NV
Now here’s to the diversity of Chenin Blanc – it doesn’t just make dry stills and sparklers but sinfully sweet vintages too. This particular wine’s story is as interesting as that of South African wine itself. This deliciously sweet pleaser is a unique style that South Africa rightfully calls its own given its history of bottling this style before a modern revolution that made it the new world powerhouse it is today. Robertson Valley is perfectly placed to produce this style thanks to copious sunshine. The natural sweet turn of Chenin thrills the palate with a balance of sweet character and ripe tropical fruit.