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‘04 Ken Forrester Chenin Blanc

Here at Good Grape, I have a couple of wine quirks—peccadillos, if you will.  They include my disdain for Rosé, my favor for a nice, local cordial fruit wine (i.e. sweet) when the occasion calls, my belief that Moscato d’Asti and Lambrusco are under-appreciated and that Chenin Blanc is, likewise, un-necessarily not understood in the US marketplace.

I’ll save for another day the fact that I love Barbaresco’s and Barolo’s and can scarcely afford either one of them on a regular basis; my dichotomy between high and low brow, especially amongst Italian wine, is sufficient enough to merit some psychiatric review, I think, but, hey, I can do spaghetti and meatballs alongside northern Italian, as well. 

Of the aforementioned pecadillos, the one that I think has the greatest opportunity to NOT brand me a typical ‘Ugly American’ with a sweet tooth is Chenin Blanc, though it too can be made off-dry or demi-sec.  However, as one of the Loire Valley’s notable contributions to the world of wine, Chenin Blanc is incredibly versatile and is poised to grow in the U.S. from its previously dismal acreage under vine and under the auspices of being a dry wine with high acidity. 

Unscientifically, it seems that with the increasing move towards conscientious food friendliness in wine and some of the steam we have seen in the marketplace with Viognier is also benefiting Chenin.  It does not hurt that Int’l producers are producing some very lovely Chenin Blanc, joining Dry Creek Vineyard, the only domestic producer that comes to mind that makes a something a cut above plonk and a wine that has long been an insiders “value” buy.

Dr. Debs had a nice post the other day on cross-training your palate.  I’ve been really into whites this winter for some reason and one of the best things I can think of is to cross-train for the spring time, when reds become a bit heavy and you’re searching for something different.  I happen to be doing this now, and I’m recommending you do the same.  Set aside the Sav. Blanc., go easy on the Chardonnay (even if it is un-oaked) and try a Chenin Blanc, I think you’ll come away with new appreciation for a growing varietal and you’ll be months ahead of the game come April when you’re thinking about whites.

*Note*  Chenin Blanc is very susceptible to too much cold muting the nose and the flavor profile.  Do not overchill your Chenin.  Cellar temperature—55 degrees is sufficient to let the flavors bloom in the glass. 
My review for the ’04 Ken Forrester Chenin Blanc is here.



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Comments

On 01/14, Ken Hoggins wrote:

I liked this wine as well.  The 2005 was recommended as well.  I think S. African Chenins are one of the terrific undiscovered white wines of the world.  Thay are bargains as well.  The 2006 Mulderbosch is a real winner.  2007 is VG as well.  Another good US producer is Vinum.  Nice post for a grape that needs more awareness.  Cheers, Ken

On 01/14, Dr. Debs wrote:

Thanks for the great post and detailed tasting notes. I love chenin blanc, for many of the same reasons as you do. The reminder not to chill the wines too much is much appreciated, as well. I did this with my first bottle of chenin blanc and couldn’t figure out what all the fuss was about—then it warmed up and blew me away!

On 01/16, swirlingnotions wrote:

Isn’t the Dry Creek Chenin Blanc lovely? Great summer sipper. And, man, if you can find me a US source for a good Lambrusco, I’d be thrilled. There’s nothing like a platter of salumi with a good bottle . . . just like in Emilia-Romagna.

On 01/20, Wine Scamp wrote:

Have you had a chance to try the Pine Ridge Chenin Blanc-Viognier?  It’s a fascinating, well-made blend that you might enjoy.  I’m loving the Chenin these days myself!


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