While the Loire Valley may be the viticultural birthplace of Chenin Blanc, the variety has found a second home in South Africa. Representing 18% of the country’s total acreage under vine, Chenin Blanc is currently the country’s most widely planted grape.
Bright, fruit-forward aromas and flavours can range from tart Granny Smith apple, green plum and lime to more robust notes of ripe stone or tropical fruit, melon and clementine, framed by lifting acidity. There can also be lively herbal or floral characters, like wild scrub bush or orange blossom. Attractive nuances of fynbos—the Afrikaans term for the natural shrubs and vegetation that stretch across the Western Cape—often add a distinctly South African character to the bouquet, as do delicate mineral hints of slate, chalk and flint. Fresh and fruity Chenin is an attractive alternative to unoaked Chardonnay.
Sauvignon Blanc is a white wine that owes much of its popularity to winemakers in Bordeaux and the Loire Valley in France. The Sauvignon Blanc taste is very different from other white wines, like Chardonnay, because of its green and herbaceous flavors. The name Sauvignon Blanc means “Wild White” and the grape is related to Traminer with origins in the South of France. Sauvignon Blanc is one of the most widely planted wine grapes in the world and because of this it has a wide range of styles and flavours.
Chardonnay is the most common and well known variety of white grape in wine production today. The most prominent flavour in Chardonnay wine comes from oak used in the wine production process. Other flavors and aromas include fruit, lemon, melon, grass, and vanilla. Some other characteristics of Chardonnay wines are high acidity, golden colors, and a velvety feel in the mouth.
One reason why Chardonnay wine is so popular is because Chardonnay grapes are grown nearly everywhere that wine is produced. Chardonnay grapes are relatively hardy and are able to survive in a variety of environments. Chardonnays have also become very popular, probably the most popular of all white wines today. It's thus for good reasons that Chardonnay is regarded as the "king" of white grape varieties.
Did you know?
All Chablis is made 100% from the Chardonnay grape. Some wine experts, such as Jancis Robinson, believe that the wine from Chablis is one of the "purest" expression of the varietal character of Chardonnay, because of the simple style of winemaking favoured in this region. The Chablis region is the northernmost wine district of the Burgundy region in France.