It’s time again to venture into the unknown in order to find some new wines for the coming summer season. Chenin Blanc may be best known in it’s home, France’s Loire Valley, but it is also an exceptionally important variety in South Africa. Perhaps the most important white variety as South Africa continues to re-establish it’s markets around the world. While much of the South African wine that reaches our shores is more international in style, their Chenins tend to be somehow more South African.

Perhaps it simply due to the lack of comparable wines, very little Chenin is typically available at retail, but there is also the historical basis for this assessment. Once wildly important to the domestic wine scene, when it was known as Steen, Chenin Blanc in a certain style can be thought of as typically South African. The wines tend to be dry and firm with a fine blend of mineral, savory and fruity flavors. they are refreshing, if fairly big and as such serve superbly as both aperitif wines and wines that can accompany a wide variety of dishes at the table. Perfect for lazy summer afternoons that drift languidly into dinner.