or Chenin Blanc

Appears in
Oxford Companion to Wine

By Jancis Robinson

Published 2006

  • About

Chenin or Chenin Blanc, in its native region often called Pineau or Pineau de la Loire, is probably the world’s most versatile grape variety, capable of producing some of the finest, longest-living sweet whites and a wide range of fine dry whites. It is also responsible for a considerable volume of sparkling wine and, in south africa, where it is by far the most planted variety, it is even used as the base for a wide range of fortified wines and spirits. Although, in its most common high-yield, New World form, its distinctive flavour reminiscent of honey and damp straw is usually lost, it retains the naturally high acidity that dogs it in some of the Loire’s less ripe vintages but can be so useful in hot climates.