For this month’s wine club, we decided to focus on one single varietal, Chenin Blanc. Chenin Blanc originates from the Loire Valley in France, although due to its versatility, it is grown all over the World, from California to Argentina to the Southern hemisphere in Australia and New Zealand, Israel even and it is probably the most popular variety planted throughout South Africa. However, most will say that the Chenin Blanc or as it’s known in its motherland, “Pineau de la Loire” shines most brightly when grown in Vouvray of the Loire. This month we are going to let you choose for yourselves by showcasing three Chenin Blanc, one from Vouvray, one from the Anjou which is in the Loire and one from South Africa. The vintage, the climate and the terroir play such an important role in highlighting the distinctive qualities of its acidity and notes of honey and straw. There are many styles of wine made with Chenin blanc, from age worthy sweet wines, to sparkling to fine dry wines. These wines below will all be dry and still, perfect for enjoying with all the fresh bounty of Summer.
P. & E. Mullins
2020 Champalou Vouvray
Loire Valley, France
For you long time wine club members, you might recall the 2018 Champalou Vouvray that we shared in the October of 2019 wine club. When talking Chenin Blanc, we couldn’t help ourselves to share this new vintage with you. The Champalou family only grow and produce chenin blanc in Vouvray of the Loire Valley where chenin blanc originates. They are renowned for the wines they produced. They have 21 hectares of vineyard on terroir of limestone and clay. They embrace sustainability by working with the lunar calendar and organic viticulture practices. Céline Champalou, daughter of Didier and Catherine has recently returned to the Domaine to work with her parents and continue the Domaine once they retire. Besides her education at home, she studied winemaking in New Zealand, South Africa, the Languedoc, Corsica, and Canada. There is no doubt that this Domaine will continue to share with us these elegant and aromatic true expressions of chenin blanc. In the glass this wine is reminiscent of liquid gold. The palate is luscious and rich. There are notes of honey suckle and stone fruit. It is delightfully balanced with minerality and acidity on the mouthwatering finish.
2020 Beaumont Chenin Blanc
Bot River, Walker Bay South Africa
Beaumont is more than a winery. It is a farm, a gathering place, it is a family. In 1974 current owner Jayne Beaumont along with her late husband Raoul purchased the property. On it was an old farmhouse built in the 1700s with the regions oldest wine cellar. It’s unclear of when wine production first stopped, but the winery was producing again from the 1940 to 1960’s. The vineyards and cellar needed attention. Together Jayne and Raoul replanted the vines and brought life back into the property. The symbol on the label is their family crest which symbolizes honor, courage, and balance. The wine is produced with these virtues in mind. The 2020 season was a dry one for the Bot River. Yields were low but the grapes themselves were pure with nice acidity. Harvest was early to preserve the bright freshness of the fruit. Fermentation took place in stainless steel and cement. This expression of chenin blanc is a great example of a cooler climate chenin blanc. A pale golden hue in the glass, this wine is zingy and lively. The palate is lighter in body and shows crisp notes of dried apricot and Meyer lemon. The finish is long and dry.
2019 Chateau Soucherie “Les Rangs de Long” Anjou Blanc
Loire Valley France
Chateau Soucherie wines have been imported by Rosenthal since 1982, however the current owners, first generation winemakers, The Beguinot family have only had it since 2007. As life goes, things don’t always go how you want them to, but then again, they can work out in a way that you didn’t expect. In the early 2000s, the unexpected happened. After having the Domaine since 1969, Proprietor Pierre-Yves Tijou, took ill and instead of passing it on to his son, Mathieu, with reasons to give him freedom to control his own destiny, he sold it to the Beguinot family. The Tijous then purchased a neighboring estate, the Chateau L’Eperonniere, eventually Pierre-Yves made the return to good health. Thus, the Tijou family continued to provide wine to the Rosenthal portfolio and Chateau Soucherie, continued to be part of it as well. All in all, a difficult story turns out to have a lovely ending. Beguinot’s renovated the buildings and vineyards, and the 36-hectare property has become even more magnificent that it ever was. They are transforming the land to 100% organic viticulture through integrated agriculture. They have divided the Domaine into single vineyards. These Chenin Blanc grapes, are sourced from the vineyard site “Les Rangs de Longue.” The soil is a mix of clay, sand, and limestone. The wine is vinified totally dry and aged on its lies before being bottled. In the glass this wine is a bright lemony yellow. The palate is refreshing with notes of golden delicious apples, key lime, and gravel. It’s savory and delightful.