Oleksyn: Why it is best to present chenin blanc some love this Thanksgiving weekend

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Chenin blanc is likely one of the world’s nice wine grapes. Nevertheless it doesn’t garner the eye it deserves.

The slow-to-ripen white grape with intense acidity can produce memorable candy, semi-sweet, dry and glowing wines that may age for a few years. Whereas chenin blanc is grown all over the world, together with in British Columbia, the white grape has a historical past going again a millennium in France’s Loire Valley. South Africa, one other scorching spot for chenin, has been rising it for greater than 350 years.

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The important thing to creating nice chenin blanc is ripeness. It takes endurance to attend for the fruit to ripen. Including extra problems, the grapes additionally ripen at totally different instances in the identical bunch, which means the vineyards are sometimes harvested a number of instances in a single season.

Listed here are 4 chenin blancs to strive. As a bonus, they might be terrific pairings for Thanksgiving turkey.




Bernard Collection Outdated Vine Chenin Blanc

Coastal Area, South Africa

The primary vines had been planted at what’s now the Bellingham property in 1693. Whereas the vines ultimately withered, in 1943, Bernard and Fredagh Podlashuk bought the property and injected new life into the operation.

Three vineyards aged 40 years or older present the fruit for this beautiful wine, from a cool classic that noticed harvest finish three weeks later than regular. The lengthy, cool ripening has led to a contemporary, full of life wine with nice density. The grapes had been picked in two passes and fermented in both massive oak vats referred to as foudre, concrete tanks, amphorae or 300-litre oak barrels, with 30 per cent of them new.

Flavours embrace inexperienced apple, pineapple, orange, quince and a contact of petrol. It’s dry, with loads of acid and a protracted end. It delivers loads for the value.

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Value: About $26. Search for it at 5 Vines Wine, Craft Beer and Spirits, Alberta Beer Trade, Aspen Wine and Spirits, BSW Liquor, Co-op Wine Spirits Beer, Crowfoot Wine & Spirits, Highlander Wine and Spirits, Vine Kinds, Willow Park Wines & Spirits and Wine & Past.

Drink: Within the subsequent three years. Get pleasure from it with poultry, white-fleshed fish or baked ham. Screw cap; 13.5 per cent alc./vol.




21 Gables Chenin Blanc

Cape City, South Africa

Spier is one other South African vineyard with a historical past courting again to the 1690s.

The property in beautiful Stellenbosch has had a lot of homeowners and some totally different names in its lengthy historical past. Billionaire South African businessman Dick Enthoven, the proprietor of the Hollard Group of insurance coverage corporations and a key financier of the Nando’s chain of hen eating places, bought it in 1993. His daughter Mariota took over administration of the wine property, which features a resort and a powerful artwork assortment, after Enthoven died in 2022.

Named after the 21 gables that add architectural id to the buildings on the wine property, this dry, vegan-certified chenin blanc delivers flavours of lemon cream, candied lime, ginger, quince and a touch of petrol on a high-acid backbone. The grapes had been picked in 4 passes and fermented in French oak barrels of various sizes, from 300 litres to 2,500 litres.

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Value: About $33. It has been bought at BSW Liquor, Co-op Wine Spirits Beer, Craft Cellars, Crowfoot Wine and Spirits, HotShot Liquor Calgary, Liquor Baron, Vine Kinds, Willow Park Wines & Spirits and Wine and Past.

Drink: Within the subsequent six years. The vineyard suggests smoked mussels, caramelized pork stomach or korma curry for meals pairings. Screw cap; 14.5 per cent alc./vol.





Vouvray, Loire Valley, France

Husband and spouse Didier and Catherine Champalou met as youngsters whereas attending agricultural school. Each got here from wine households, with Catherine’s viticultural heritage going again 12 generations in Vouvray, an appellation within the east-central a part of the Loire Valley that solely makes chenin blanc wines.

The couple started producing their wine on 0.8 hectares of rented winery land in 1984. Now they sustainably farm 25 hectares. Their daughter Celine, now the winemaker, labored in wine areas all over the world, together with the Okanagan Valley.

With a kiss of residual sugar, it is a contemporary and fruity chenin blanc with floral and bruised apple aromas and flavours of inexperienced apple, lime, lemon, almond, honey, graham cracker and spice.

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Value: About $35. Test for it at Aspen Wine and Spirits, Bin 905, BSW Liquor, Crowfoot Wine & Spirits Signature Retailer, CSN Wine and Spirits, Highlander Wine and Spirits, Kensington Wine Market, Rocky Mountain Wine and Spirits, Silver Springs Liquor, Vine Arts, Willow Park Wine & Spirits and Zyn the Wine Market.

Drink: Within the subsequent eight years. Get pleasure from it with pork, hen, sushi or fruit salad. Cork; 12.5 per cent alc./vol.


Domaine Huet


Le Mont Sec

Vouvray, Loire Valley, France

Domaine Huet is a legendary French vineyard that has been making spectacular Vouvrays since former Paris bistro proprietor Victor Huet moved to the Loire Valley and began making wine in 1928.

The vineyard, now owned by American siblings Sarah & Hugo Hwang, produces dry (sec), semi-dry (demi-sec), candy (moelleux) and glowing wines from three prime vineyards in Vouvray — Le Mont, Le Haut-Lieu and Clos du Bourg. Every winery is situated on a special soil sort, resulting in distinctive wines, and a few that may age for many years. The vineyard was additionally licensed biodynamic in 1993.

The Le Mont winery’s excessive limestone content material produces lean, high-acid wines with nice rigidity. The nostril boasts notes of bruised apple, pear, spice, anise, herb, tarragon and the Southeast Asian fruit longan. On the palate, the acidity is electrical, the end is lengthy and the flavours run from inexperienced apple to ginger, baked lemon, orange and quince.

Value: About $60. Search for it at Richmond Hill Wines.

Drink: Within the subsequent 10-12 years. Get pleasure from it with sushi, crab, lobster or poultry. Cork; 13 per cent alc./vol.

Contact Darren Oleksyn at [email protected] or observe him on Instagram or X, the app beforehand often called Twitter. Searching for a selected wine? As a result of wine inventories are at all times in flux, it’s a good suggestion to name a retailer to verify they’ve it. A search on Liquorconnect.com may give you an thought of shops which have carried the wines.

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