White grape variety that is extremely versatile as it produces a wide range of styles including sparkling, dry, semi-dry, luscious dessert styles and even brandy. It is similar to Riesling as it has very high acidity that enables it to age for decades in bottle and the same ability to adapt easily and reflect its terroir.
Its spiritual home is Frances Middle Loire - Anjou-Saumur and Touraine, which accounts for it synonym, Pineau de la Loire, although it has absolutely nothing to do with the Pinot family of grapes.
In Saumur, dry sparkling wines are made to the same exacting methods as champagne. The wide Crémant de Loire appellation also makes a lot of Chenin based fizz. In Touraine's appellation of Vouvray the grape demonstrates its versatility, producing dry, and sparkling, demi-sec, moelleux and botrytized dessert styles.
The deep gold coloured, intensely concentrated dessert wines of the Loire from Bonnezeaux, Coteaux du Layon and Quart de Chaume are some of the most sought after in the world. Chenin is also the flagship white variety of South Africa where it's extensively planted and known as Steen.
Aromas and flavours most commonly associated with Chenin are fragrant angelica and floral notes, fruity apple, quince and greengage, tropical melon, guava and pineapple, herbaceous hay and grass, and spicy cinnamon.