The Loire Valley of France is one of the premier wine regions of the world. Many of the noble grape varieties are indigenous to Loire Valley, including the Chenin Blanc variety, which is not well known, but can produce exceptional wines. The one area in Loire where Chenin Blanc thrives best is near Touraine. The Monmousseau 2011 Vouvray is 100% Chenin Blanc, and has aromas and flavors of pears, yellow peaches, apricots, lemon, honey, and a slight minerality. The mouth-feel of this wine is medium-bodied, with a silky feel to it. This is an off-dry white, with some residual sugar, and can be drank as an aperitif, or with grilled chicken breast topped with a tropical fruit salsa.
I am not usually one that likes to drink a sweet wine, unless of course it is one that pairs well with spicy food or a good dessert. One evening we were serving white chocolate covered strawberries for dessert, and I wanted to find a nice wine to compliment the strawberries. I found that wine in the Terra Blanca Late Harvest Chenin Blanc. This is a nice dessert wine that has some delicious but unique aromas and flavors, and does not pair well with just any dessert. The aromas and flavors associated with this wine are of floral notes, honey, and a nice creamy taste that complimented the white chocolate well. For something different, give this wonderful wine a try.
Chenin Blanc is on of the lesser-known grape varieties in the world, but the wines produced from this variety are wonderful, and the sweeter wines can have a very long shelf life. Chenin Blanc hails from the Loire Valley in France, but there are more plantings of Chenin Blanc in South Africa than in any other area, where the variety is known as Steen.
The Foxen Winery, located in the beautiful rolling hills of Santa Maria Valley, was named after the English sea captain, William Benjamin Foxen, who was the great-great grandfather of one of the owners of the winery. The vineyards are situated close to the coast and experience the marine layer that keeps the coastline on the temperate side.
The Foxen 2008 Old Vines Chenin Blanc has a lovely golden color to it, with aromas of fresh pears, tropical fruits, and touches of floral. On the palate this wine is dry, with flavors of pears, pineapple, and guava. The acidity in this wine is good, with a nice mouth feel, and a good finish. This is a wine that would pair well with spicy Thai or Chinese food.