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Apr 14, 2007 11:11 AM

Chenin blanc with Italian food?

I am typically a white drinker and have a chenin blanc that I'll be taking to dinner tonight. Would it pair well with Italian food? I'm not sure what I'll be getting, but most likely some sort of seafood dish. Thank you.

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  1. It will be fine, especially with seafood or a chicken/cream dish.

    1. I think it depends a lot on your chenin blanc. I have recently been trying a number of South African chenin blancs and have found that a couple remind me a lot of sauvignon blanc. I was thinking these will work well with many Italian dishes.

      BTW, I recently started a thread asking about good white wines to drink with Italian food. I got a lot of very helpful responses and am now in the process of sampling many of the suggestions! So far, a Greco di Tufo leads the pack.

      1 Reply
      1. re: ambrose

        Ambrose -you might want to add Chumeia Chardonnay (I know, I know, but you gotta trust me on this one) to your list to try.

      2. Personally I would look at pairing chenin blanc primarily with "uncomplicated" seafood, particularly shellfish, with little in the way of sauce. If there's cream, butter, etc. in the dish, IMO chardonnay is a much better match.

        4 Replies
        1. re: Chicago Mike

          depends on the style of the chenin blanc. I prefer a very dry acidic sauvignon blanc or chenin blanc with many cream sauces, I think the acidity cuts through them nicely. Some of the great dry wines from the Loire are perfect for this.

          1. re: vanillagorilla

            It's a matter of individual tastes, of course.... IMO the notion of "cutting" cream with a dry white wine is misconstrued to be similar to the notion of "cutting" fat on red meat via a rich red wine....

            I think they are very different concepts. Chardonnay has the quality of "joining" cream whereas a very dry white wine can indeed "cut and separate" it. And it's the COMBINING QUALITY that makes chardonnay appealing with creams and butters to my palate.

          2. re: Chicago Mike

            (Not to pile on, but I'd started writing this earlier this afternoon and got interrupted by a client.)

            At the risk of losing life or limb, you might want to keep this bit of advice to yourself if you ever visit the Anjou and Saumur region of the Loire valley, home to Vouvray, Savennières and other appellations that produce what most people consider the best Chenin Blanc wines in the world. Buerre blanc was probably invented in the area and the recommended wine for local pike and perch in beurre blanc sauce is a dry or off-dry Chenin. The locals -- and a lot of starred French chefs and sommeliers, it's worth noting -- also consider Chenin the ideal pairing for dishes like turbot with hollandaise and veal and rabbit in cream sauce. YMMV, of course. Mine certainly doesn't.

            1. re: carswell

              The question though, cars, is whether the cream needs "cutting" from it's wine match, a comment I've heard several times on these boards and personally disagree with, at least in the same sense that fatty meat needs cutting...

              and further, while those may be palatable matches, IMO chardonnay is a better match with BOTH butter, cream sauce, and "cheese plates" in general. I participated in a lengthy wine and cheese event a few years ago where we had over 40 cheeses matched against numerous varietals...

              At the end of the day, out of over 40 cheeses, only Appenzeller managed to score even 7.5 on a 10 scale with Chenin Blanc. Chevre and Fontina were both "7.0 to 7.5". This is just my palate, I love Chenin Blanc, but IMO it's not that great a dairy wine.

          3. Eat, drink, and enjoy.......................................

            1. guess I've got to ask, why? the Italians have had a couple thousand years to work on pairing wine with their food. if the issue is finding an italian white wine, not sure where you are but there are plenty of very good white italian wines available. many of them are not expensive. if you isnsit, I can't argue with Chicago Mike's pairing suggestion.

              2 Replies
              1. re: ibstatguy

                Depends on the chenin--a minerally Loire or SA steen could be a nice stand-in for a vermentino, falanghino, pigato, lugana, soave, or ribolla gialla, say, and match with anything these (also fine) whites would accompany: seafood, grilled, poached, sauteed, with any simple sauace, but probably nothing heavily tomato.

                1. re: obob96

                  I think you just made my point...