Tuesday, November 02, 2010

The WSET / ISG Challenge: Chenin Blanc

Okay, you Chenin Blanc fans. Here are the answers to yesterday’s quiz.

The classic region for Chenin Blanc is:
b. Loire Valley
Chenin Blanc from the Loire Valley (Loire Valley castle shown lower right) has been cultivated in Anjou since the Ninth Century. Vouvray, Bonnezaux, Savennieres, and Anjou Touraine are some of the Loire Valley AOCs that grow Chenin. In the Loire, Chenin Blanc can be fermented dry or made as a sweet late harvest style of wine that often ages well – since Chenin is prone to noble rot – but is generally less
weighty than a Sauterne. Chenin is not permitted under the AOC laws in Burgundy and is not one of the classic grape varieties from Alsace.

In South Africa, Chenin Blanc is called:
b. Steen
Chenin Blanc is known as Steen in South Africa where it make up about 20% to 25% of the vineyards – meaning there is actually more of this grape grown in South Africa than in the Loire Valley. Many producers are also beginning to call this grape by its proper name, Chenin Blanc, when labeling their wines.

Other factoids:
Pinotage is a cross between Pinot Noir and Cinsault that was bred in South Africa in 1925.
Cape Riesling is the South African name for Crouchen Blanc, another French variety.

Stay tuned and each week we’ll add more practice questions from the WSET and International Sommelier Guild exams.

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