Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Chenin Blanc grapes

As September rapidly approaches hosts and hostesses are asking themselves, what is the perfect wine to serve at an end of Summer party? The final days of Summer are always bitter sweet, and the food and drink served to celebrate them is reminiscent of the fresh and vibrant mystique that surrounds the beloved season.

Chenin Blanc is the perfect white wine to put a memorable mark on any Summer wrap up party as it has a taste best paired with ingredients that are harvested in late July and early August. As more boutique growers begin to cultivate Chenin grapes this wine is beginning to over shadow it’s more popular opponent Sauvignon Blanc and finally shed its stigma of being bitter and cheap.

Recently skilled vineyard owners have been finally growing Chenin grapes correctly, in turn stripping the refreshing drink from its position as the white wine pariah.

Chenin Blanc grapes must be grown in a small community of vines in order for them to develop their robust fresh fruit flavor profiles but in the time of the late ‘70s Chenin Blanc was mass produced by corporations creating a bitter, dissatisfying flavor. This lack of care and attention to the proper growing technique built a stigma for Chenin with wine connoisseurs. But these grapes are no longer mass produced in bulk and skilled vineyard owners have been correctly growing the grapes to give them their proper inviting complexity.

Chenin Blanc

A Chenin Blanc will express its flavor in three ways that pair perfectly with an appetizer, main course and dessert of any Summer party. The flavors of Chenin marry wholly with fruits, fish and vegetables, and these three foods are perfect for a barbeque, there is not another white wine to serve at an August party. A Chenin can vary as follows:
  • Fresh and Fruity: most varietals of this grape are aged with a fresh and vibrant fruit profile that will have notes of lemon and grass. This type of dry Chenin is perfectly paired with the flavors of a summer salad, giving any party thrower appetizer options that are in season and harvested in August, such as snap peas, green beans and squash.
  • Oak: some of these white wines are cured to create a deep musky essence in an off dry varietal that is best paired with a rich fish. Fish is the ultimate summer time main course for a back yard soiree. Any host could pair this type of Chenin with a large stuffed tuna or a zesty, healthy salmon thrown on the barbeque while artfully layering the flavors of both the food and beverage.
  • Super Sweet: a simple, classic fruit filled dessert screams summer and a sweet profiled Chenin Blanc is the best pairing for a tart dessert made of freshly picked blackberries or a pear tart.
Chenin Blanc bottle

Chenin Blanc is just as delicious if not more appetizing than its popular rival Sauvignon Blanc. Serving Sauvignon Blanc at a summer bash has become almost yawn worthy and although it brings less notoriety, Chenin Blanc is the perfect beverage for a hot August day or a delectable summer dinner.
  • It provides multiple expressions of flavor rendering it more exciting to the palate than Sauvignon.
  • Chenin ages better than Sauvignon, becoming more fruity and eventually sweet with the proper curing technique.
  • This wine offers far more complexity and delicate layering of its components in comparison to Sauvignon.
  • The small amount of vines necessary to produce a good Chenin imply that the grower took extra time in caring for the plants and was able to treat them in a boutique growing manner, ensuring quality in every grape.
Throwing an end of summer get together is a given, but serving Chenin Blanc is often forgotten even though it is the perfect summer beverage. One can pair it with the season’s best harvest for a perfect three course meal that will wow their guests, and with the popularity of this white wine growing the secret will not be kept for long.

Here are some popular online wine stores that stock a good variety of Chenin Blancs:

Tewksbury Fine Wine (A brilliant collection of low to high end French Chenin Blancs)
Wine Library
Total Wine & More
Paumanok Vineyards (A great Chenin maker)
About The Author: 

Cara is a freelance writer who maintains an organic approach to life through interests in culinary arts, yoga and holistic healing. Contact her through email for more information on freelance services at carawietstock@gmail.com.

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