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Varietal: Chenin Blanc
Incredibly dexterous, Chenin Blanc is capable of producing a wide range of styles from lusciously sweet to bone dry and sparkling to still. Indigenous to the Loire valley in France, some of the most popular sub regions include Savennières (exclusively dry), Vouvray, Montlouis, and Coteaux du Layon who's villages, Quarts de Chaume and Bonnezeaux make, when the weather permits, some of the finest dessert wines.
In it's new home, in South Africa, it has taken over as the most planted varietal accounting for nearly a fifth the area under vines in the whole country and double what is grown in France. It may not retain its wet wool and honeyed aroma but its naturally high acidity is a saving grace for the countries hot Mediterranean climate.
Country: South Africa
After much political turmoil South Africa is experiencing a rejuvenation in the wine business, returning to producing some of the world's finest wines including the once heralded dessert wines of Constantia. With most of the coastal region's vineyards lying within 30 miles of the sea the vines benefit from a Mediterranean climate but which is tempered by the cool Benguela current from the Atlantic Ocean. Chenin Blanc, or Steen (its local name), is still the country’s most popular grape and although planting have declined considerably over the last couple of decades it still constitutes 18% of the country’s vines. International varieties such Cabernet Sauvignon and Sauvignon Blanc have trembled over the same period and now represent 12% and 10% of all vines respectively. Pinotage, the Cape's own crossing of Cinsault and Pinot Noir, saw a huge rise in popularity during the 1990s and has now reached a steady 6%. Shiraz on the other hand has been the most recent grape to take root, nearly doubling between 2000 and 2007. South Africa's style has often been referred to as combining the restrained subtly of the Old World with the accessible fruit driven styles of the New. Choice however can be somewhat limited with only a mere 1 in 25 bottles exported reaching the US, due to the UK, Europe's thirst.
White wine is a wine whose color can be pale-yellow, yellow-green, and yellow-gold colored. The wine is produced from a variety of grape varieties. The flavor and color comes from the juice of the grape and sometimes the skin of the grape as well. Interestingly, not all white wine comes from white grapes. Some select red grapes are used as in Champagne.