Friday marks the second annual international opportunity to share love and experience with that mercurial white grape of the Loire Valley: Chenin Blanc. By posting favorite bottles and examples on Instagram at #drinkchenin you too can participate in a large-scale celebration of this oft-misunderstood variety we enjoy so often (and with vigor!) here at PMW.
In addition, we will be offering a special 11% off all Chenin Blanc in the shop, from dry to sweet to sparkling.
Most famous are the wines from Vouvray, a clay-heavy mid-valley appellation on the right bank of the Loire which often show a rich or botrytized (noble-rot) element. On the opposite hills and plateau, the limestone and tuffo clay that tipifies Montlouis sur Loire often show a gritty, grainy minerality and greater fruit freshness, making them a bit “harder” wines on the palate, but (at least at PMW) preferable. Established producers like Francois Chidane make wines year to year that exemplify the vineyard sites regardless of final sugar levels, depending on flavor and acidity to vinify wines that represent their place, rather than a style. Many younger producers like Xavier Weiskopff of Rocher de Violetes (who made the move from Rhone to Loire for love of Chenin), or Lise and Bertrand Jousset, make lean, and crisp wines from Montlouis ranging in styles from dry and fresh, to intense and age-worthy, to bright and naturally petillant for a delightful spritz in mid-June.
Farther west in the valley are the appellations of Saumur and Anjou where broader, somewhat more viscous wines are made. Dominique Joseph of Petit St. Vincent, with whom we hosted a recent dinner to show his red wines, also makes a brilliant Saumur Blanc from 120 year-old vines grown on clay and limestone over silex soils which highlight the texture and palate-lingering quality of serious Chenin Blanc. Zippier, and with a higher-toned tensility, Francois Boudignon’s Anjou and Savennieres respond to the sand, schist, and volcanic rhyolite in the ground to produce rich, but linear wines with great varietal focus alongside terroir.
And though we don’t have much in California, Krater Cellars' beautifully opulent Monterey Chenin Blanc leaps from glass to nose with rich tropical fruit aromas and a long, clean finish: a product of cool-climate growing conditions and loamy sand acting on this slippery and malleable grape.
We love Chenin, and you should too! Give it a try at 11% off our entire selection, and don’t forget to share with your digital acolytes via #drinkchenin on instragram.