Chenin Blanc Facts
From crisp, acidic and dry to acidic, staggeringly rich, and sweet
Depending on style -- salads, goat cheese, pate, foie gras
Known in the Anjou and Touraine districts of the Loire Valley as the Pineau de la Loire, the Chenin Blanc grape lends itself to an extraordinary range of styles, from bracing, bone-dry Savennieres and Vouvrays (there is also a sparkling version), to medium-dry or demi-sec, wines, to some of the world's most staggeringly rich late-harvest wines made in years that benefit from the arrival of botrytis. general characteristics of Chenin Blanc include citrus fruits, peach, pear, apple, and quince; spring flowers and honeysuckle; occasionally a lanolin/wet wool element; and assertive mineral and earthy notes, sometimes reminiscent of fresh, sweet mushrooms.
Chenin Blancs in both dry and sweet styles are noted for their longevity -- especially those from Vouvray. The very sweetest bottlings from Chenin Blanc are among the longest-lived nonfortified wines in the world. Note that, compared to Sauternes for example, sweet wines from the Loire Valley are lower in alcohol, higher in acidity, and dominated by the aromas and flavors of fruit rather than oak barrels.