Posted on Jun 9, 2016 by
This amazing and versatile varietal has remained on the fringes of the spotlight for too long and we are now ready to make national push with a worldwide Drink Chenin Day on June 17th! The goal is
simple - let’s join together as producers, buyers and drinkers to bring Chenin Blanc to the center of the conversation for what to drink on the dinner table.
In South Africa, Chenin blanc is the most widely planted variety, accounting for nearly one-fifth (18.6%) of all vineyard plantings in the early 21st century. In 2008, there were 18,852 hectares (46,580 acres) of the grape planted, nearly twice the amount of Chenin blanc planted in France. The majority
of the plantings are found in the Western Cape wine region of Paarl in the Cape Winelands District Municipality with 3,326 hectares (8,220 acres) with the Swartland region of Malmesbury and Olifants River not far behind with 3,317 hectares (8,200 acres) and 2,521 hectares (6,230 acres), respectively, in cultivation in 2008.
Chenin blanc was the principal grape in the South African wine industry’s “white wine renaissance” that was ushered in by the introduction of new technologies such as temperature controlled fermentation vessels. During this time, the focus was on producing off-dry, clean, and crisp wine that was mostly neutral in flavor and could capitalize on the wine market’s demand for white wine. Near the end of the 20th century, several Chenin blanc specialist producers emerged and worked with vineyard managers to isolate older Chenin vines on suitable terroir. Their goal was to produce wines that exhibited Chenin’s unique aromas and traits. While plantings of Chenin blanc have decreased, the work of these producers resulted in improved quality profiles of South African Chenin blanc.
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