White wines can be tricky. Chardonnay is one of most popular ones on the market today, but many people still find it to be a bit too “oaky.” Sauvignon Blanc on the other hand, another top contender, is often criticized for being a bit too “grassy.”
No matter which white wine you select – whether ordering for your table at a restaurant or serving it while entertaining – there always appears to be someone who has something to say. Enter a rising star in the white wine world, a near-foolproof crowdpleaser that is neither too oaky nor too grassy: Chenin Blanc.
Originating in France’s Loire valley, Chenin Blanc is a grape that experts praise for its extreme versatility, with any two varieties from any two winemakers unlikely to be too similar.
Although the grape comes from France and the United States led the world in acreage in the 1980’s, South Africa currently leads the world in production, with the varietal resulting in over one-fifth of all vineyard plantings, producing about half the world’s supply annually.
It’s also been the fastest-growing South African varietal in the United States in recent years, up over thirty-five percent from five years ago. “I think it’s a fun grape for wine drinkers to explore,” said a Wines of South Africa rep.
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