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Nov 8, 2006 01:52 AM

Chenin Blanc and similar white wines for a redwine drinker

My whole (drinking) life, I have always preferred red wines. In fact, the only white I could even consider drinking was a pinot grigio. Last week, someone brought over a bottle of GooseCross Chenin Blanc and I ended up really enjoyed it. I did some searches and although my local BevMo doesnt carry, I am sure I can track it down at a grocery store since the person who brought it is not that into wine. My question is which other Chenin Blancs are good (preferably in the $10-$15 range). How is the Baron Herzog 03?

Also, what other types of white wine has the slightly sweet flavor profile?

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  1. Pine Ridge makes a nice Chenin Blanc-Viognier blend. The Viognier comes through ahead of the Chenin Blanc. It has th ripe melon, fragrant flowery aromas and flavors with a clean, crisp finish. About $10 in this market.

    1. From our wine dilettanti group UG ("University of the Glass"), Chenin Blanc session proceedings.

      Wines listed in the order they were served

      #1 - White
      Producer: Fouquet-Bonnet
      Region: Vouvray, Loire Valley, France
      Year: 2002
      Name: Vouvray
      Type: Vouvray
      Grape: 100% Chenin Blanc
      Price: $ 12
      This tiny estate is located in the heart of the ancient village of Vouvray. Francis Fouquet's family owns the Domaine de Aubuisieres - one of the most famous estates in Vouvray. Fouquet married Monique Bonnet and together they created this estate. The flowery rich 2002 is packed with flavors of honeydew melons, crisp apples and a hint of orange rind. A very pure, rich, opulent Vouvray. Demi-Sec styled.

      UG : 4 / 4


      #2 - White
      Producer: Ken Forrester
      Region: LStellenbosch, South Africa
      Year: 2004
      Name: Petit Chenin
      Type: Stellenbosch Chenin Blanc
      Grape: 100% Chenin Blanc
      Price: $ 10

      ST: 87
      Lime and pineapple on the nose. Sweet, fresh and juicy, with very ripe peach flavor cut by musky ruby grapefruit and lime. Vibrant wine, with a refreshingly bittersweet finish. Drink this for its youthful fruit. This is carrying 3.7 grams of residual sugar and did not go through malolactic fermentation.

      WS: 87
      Fleshy, with citrus, peach and melon fruit, followed by hints of mineral and chamomile flower. Nice, firm finish. Drink now. 15,000 cases made. (JM
      UG: 3 / 4


      #3 - White
      Producer: Nicolas Joly
      Region: Savennières, Loire Valley, France
      Year: 2002
      Name: Les Clos Sacrés
      Type: Savennières
      Grape: 100% Chenin Blanc
      Price: $ 27

      WS: 89
      Lovely perfume here, with Jonagold apple, chamomile and lemon verbena notes that expand in the mouth. Shows fine persistence, with the juicy apple note lingering through a long finish. Drink now through 2010. 2,000 cases made. (JM)

      UG: 2 / 4


      #4 - White
      Producer: Nicolas Joly
      Region: Savennières, Loire Valley, France
      Year: 2002
      Name: Clos de la Coulée de Serrant
      Type: Savennières-Coulée de Serrant
      Grape: 100% Chenin Blanc
      Price: $ 70

      GHV 2005: * * *
      Exalted by the kings, from Louis XI to Louis XIV, then by the "prince of gastonomes", Curnonsky, this golden wine, born in steep slopes planted by Cistercian monks in the 12th century (1130), enjoys a woldwide celebrity status from the time the "Pope of Biodynamics [Nicolas Joly ]" took it under his helm [1984]. This radical militant of organic agriculture leads the battle for the soil's life, seriously endangered by pollution, for the defense of the appelation and the terroir. This 2002 fully backs Curnonsky's opinion, who considered the coulée-de-serrant to be among the gratest wines of France. Pale yellow with light gold shines, it's complex aromatics recall oranges, nuts and ripe fruits. It tastes fresh, mineral and smooth. This cuvée of Nicolas Joly remins us that a great wine is made up of multiple sensations, combined in infinite ways. An exceptional bottle.

      WS: 93
      Rather tight now, with a strong, sinewy feel to the ginger, chamomile, orange blossom, quince and humus notes. Almost bony, but it reveals some of its latent flesh with patience in the glass before turning remarkably elegant and lengthy in the end. Drink now through 2020. 2,000 cases made. (JM)

      UG: 1 / 4


      UG = University of the Glass; ratings are relative to each tasting, the lower the better. Whites & Reds rated separately. Fractional points mean a tie.
      WA = Wine Advocate (a.k.a. Robert Parker); ratings based on Parker's scale, from 50 to 100, the higher the better.
      WS = Wine Spectator; ratings based on Parker's scale, from 50 to 100, the higher the better.
      GHV = Guide Hachette des Vins; ratings go from no stars to a maximum of * * * , the higher the better.
      ST = Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar; ratings based on Parker's scale, from 50 to 100, the higher the better.
      Other (web) resources cited when none of the above available.

      3 Replies
      1. re: RicRios

        Coulee de Serrant is really something special but it is very idiosyncratic, and thus not everyone will like it, and its style varies widely from year to year depending upon vintage conditions. It really needs considerable age for its distinctiveness to show. A couple of years ago I served the 1988, 1989 and 1990 at a tasting and everyone was amazed at how different they were - they wouldn't have been picked out as the same wine. All were wonderful, each one echoing the flavors of a different sweetness level for Loire Chenin Blanc (sec, demi-sec and moelleux) but without the sweetness. Worth the money, if there is such a thing.

        1. re: beef

          Totally agree re. the idiosyncratic character of CdS, or rather, of its producer Nicolas Joly.
          Re. " not everyone will like it ", I'm still looking for anyone that won't like it.
          I find the 2005 GHV comment cited above entirely relevant.

          1. re: RicRios

            I've found a few who don't like it - usually someone with midlevel wine experience who thinks that the typical overripe, overextracted, overoaked $125 California Cabernet is worth fighting over.

      2. A good estate-made Vouvray (from, say, Huet or Moncontour) is usually the varietal standard and always a nice buy.The AOC permits Vouvrays to range from the very dry to very sweet; most here default to dry, unless noted otherwise on the label, but all have that pineappley-mineral fruit chenin offers. In the Loire, Saumur and Anjou are both chenin-based, and there are, in addition to the coops (Saumur's is a good one) a number of biodynamic smallgrowers here with good value bottles. SAfrican chenin, or Steen, is usually an excellent value. If you can, try a glass of Coulee de Serant or a high-end sweet Savenniere--just great with an appricot tart. There are also sparkling Vouvrays: Kriter is one label.

        1. Try Vinum Cellars "Chard No Way" Chenin Blanc. Our BevMo in Silicon Valley carries it.

          1. Agree with the Pine Ridge advice. It is comparable to wines that are 2-3 the price. I also like Viognier unblended for it's fullness. McManis is nice at around $10.

            1 Reply
            1. re: TonyO

              Indeed, the Pine Ridge is one of my favorites also. It also goes well with a lot of Chinese food.

              Ballentine's old vines Napa is very intensely flavored with more mineral notes than most California Chenin Blancs