About the chenin blanc style indicator

Chenin blanc is not only the most widely cultivated local grape but local plantings represent more than those established anywhere else in the world combined. Originally from the Loire region of France, Chenin blanc wines are made from the Northern Cape to Stellenbosch and from the Swartland to Robertson, in a diversity of styles. As the world looks to more aromatic white wines, Chenin has found its niche and today Chenin is ably represented as the go-to white wine from South Africa.

Diversity in styles can be seen with Chenin ranging from a wine which is fresh and easy drinking to full and rich with oak barrel fermentation making complex, powerful wines. It also ranges from still to sparkling, from dry to dessert-style sweet wines.

This diversity makes for food-friendly delicious wines but does pose a challenge for the consumer standing in front of a shelf of Chenin wines how can you be sure you buy the wine in the style you love?

To address this question, has led to the development of the style indicator - the scale will be able to give guidance as to what you can expect when tasting the wine; be that a fresh style with green apple and lime flavours, or a more complex fruity wine with stone- and tropical fruit flavours, or a rich wine with baked pineapple and marmalade notes with creamy undertones.
  

       

 

 

FRESH-styles

Wines made in this fresh and fruity style are mostly made in stainless steel tanks. This accentuates the fruit flavours of Chenin blanc and its mouth-watering acidity. The complexity of the wine can be increased by extended lees contact while in a tank.

The wines in this category will range in styles but the overarching profile is tropical fruits like guava with a zesty, citrus finish and can also include mineral notes.
 

FRUITY-styles

This Chenin category focuses on more complex, fruit-driven wines, largely considered to be "unwooded" although made and matured in vessels to preserve the wine's fruit purity and freshness, but the added benefits are in the mouthfeel and texture of the wine.

Vessels used include concrete or plastic egg-shaped containers or clay pots (often called amphoras) or larger oak casks called foudres (large casks) or older small barrels. The larger the vessel, and the older it is, the less the flavour influence of the oak, which continues to play a part in the slow transmission of oxygen into the wine.

Complexity can also be achieved by blending barrel matured and wines fermented in stainless steel tanks.

The wines in this category range in styles, but the overarching profile is delicious fruit interlaced with a spicy complexity.
  

RICH-styles

This category of Chenin styles focuses on wines where the use of oak in the flavour profile is more dominant but still balanced with fresh acidity. The fruit profile is more towards baked or dried fruit with a buttery, vanilla undertone associated with maturation in oak.

Wines made in the more oxidative style (wines that have been deliberately exposed to oxygen during the winemaking process) are also included in this category.

 

    
Chenin Blanc Association of South Africa

cheninblancasso@gmail.com