The Chenin Blanc grape variety originates in the Loire Valley of France. Also called Steen when grown in South Africa, Chenin Blanc grapes are used to produce wines of varying quality. Favors and aromas of Chenin Blanc wines include fruit, honey, quince, and grasses. Other characteristics of wines made from Chenin Blanc grapes include an oily texture, high acidity, and a deep gold coloring. The specific characteristics of Chenin Blanc wines depend heavily on where they are grown.
Chenin Blanc and Terroir
Chenin Blanc grapes can be used to produce so many different wines because they so readily take on different characteristics depending on where they are grown, how they are aged, and how the wine maker uses them. As a consequence, even nominally similar wines made with Chenin Blanc grapes can taste very different if they come from different regions or are produced by very different wineries.
Some of the best Chenin Blanc wines come from France where they tend to be acidic and even oily in texture. More average Chenin blanc grapes are noteworthy for that fact that they can be used to produce a wide variety of wines, from dry sparkling wines to sweet dessert wines.