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Chenin Blanc

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By Michael Dresser | August 16, 1995
This wine is a perennial winner in the budget wine department but the 1994 is the best to date. For the first time this wine carries a regional designation of Clarksburg, near Sacramento, Calif., and it's quite clear that this region can produce gorgeous chenin blanc. The wine is crisp, crackling and decadently fruity, but underneath all that peach, melon and, tropical fruit and spice flavor is a mere 0.7 percent residual sugar -- dry by any standard. This is a great value and a brilliant hot-weather wine.
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April 15, 2014
From: California Price: $16 Serve with: Thai cuisine, fried chicken This is a wonderfully spring-like wine — dry but also very fresh, fruity and lively. There are hints of pears, apples, tropical fruit and citrus. It would match up well with spicy foods but also is perfect for outdoor drinking on an April or May spring day. Unlike some of the more hard-to-find wines praised here, this one is in wide distribution. -- Michael Dresser , The Baltimore Sun
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By Michael Dresser | June 8, 1997
1996 Callaway Chenin Blanc, Temecula ($7).All hail a perfect summertime white! It's lively, fruity, fresh, racy and -- best of all -- cheap. Kudos to Callaway for being one of the few California wineries to get its chenin blanc of the previous vintage to market in time for the season when its honeyed, peachy, melony flavors can be best appreciated. Buy this charming wine by the case and finish it before Labor Day.Pub Date: 6/08/97
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By Michael Dresser, The Baltimore Sun | September 25, 2012
From: California Price: $10 Serve with: Grilled seafood, steamed crabs This is a well-executed while wine blend at a very reasonable price. Though both of these varietals tend to be aggressively fruity, the blend is pleasingly restrained. The wine offers flavors of minerals, lime, herbs, juniper, honey and a touch of freshly cut cucumbers. It's not ultra-complex, but it is a refreshing wine from a reliable producer.
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By Michael Dresser | November 14, 2001
2000 Snoqualmie Vineyards Chenin Blanc, Columbia Valley ($8.49). This stylish, dry chenin blanc from Washington state is one of the best values I've tasted in white wines all year. It's crisp, structured and intense - with much of the tensile strength found in the best Loire Valley. Though the sugar is scarce, the fruit is abundant - with flavors of peach, cherry, table grape, melon and minerals. But although this chenin blanc is fresh and easy to drink, it's also a wine of considerable complexity.
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By MICHAEL DRESSER | March 8, 2006
2005 Dry Creek Vineyard Dry Chenin Blanc, Clarksburg ($10.50) Spring is a-coming and it's time to load up on Dry Creek chenin blanc -- consistently one of California's best deals in a dry white wine. It's good to see Dry Creek getting this wine out to market while it's still young and fresh. It's a vibrant wine with a smorgasbord of flavors -- pear, minerals, mint, melon, cherry, lime -- and a crisp, crackling feel. It's best if consumed between now and Labor Day. Serve with soft-shell crabs, spicy Asian food.
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By Michael Dresser | October 9, 2002
2001 Dry Creek Vineyard Dry Chenin Blanc, Clarksburg ($9). Once again, Dry Creek Vineyard has come through with a white wine of extraordinary quality for its price. Fans of this wine can only hope that the masses continue to swill chardonnay and ignore the excellent and inexpensive chenin blanc grape, which requires no oak aging to be palatable. This year's version manages to be both very dry and very fruity - with an exotic mix of melon, cherry, tropical fruit and peach flavors - seasoned with honey and spices.
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By Michael Dresser | October 29, 2008
2008 Sebeka 'Steen' Chenin Blanc From: Western Cape, South Africa Price: $10 Serve with: Shellfish, Southeastern Asian cuisine Steen is the South African name for chenin blanc, a classic white-wine grape that gets far too little respect outside South Africa and France's Loire Valley, which is where it originated. This bright, fresh wine - the first 2008 to come across my tasting table - represents an exceptional value. It's an easy-to-drink, refreshing wine - made in a fruity but dry style - but it's hardly one-dimensional.
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By MICHAEL DRESSER | May 17, 2006
This California white wine from the House of Bonny Doon is one of the usual suspects in wine warden Randall Grahm's lineup of high-quality beverages. This clean, crisp, dry yet fruity wine - guarded by a fierce-looking but very protective screw cap - assaults the taster with flavors of pear, citrus fruit, melons, peach, honey and apple. It then finishes off the unsuspecting palate with a shank-thrust of grassy sauvignon blanc - a co-conspirator with viognier, chenin blanc, French colombard, pinot blanc and marsanne in this criminally decadent blend.
NEWS
By Michael Dresser | October 29, 2008
2008 Sebeka 'Steen' Chenin Blanc From: Western Cape, South Africa Price: $10 Serve with: Shellfish, Southeastern Asian cuisine Steen is the South African name for chenin blanc, a classic white-wine grape that gets far too little respect outside South Africa and France's Loire Valley, which is where it originated. This bright, fresh wine - the first 2008 to come across my tasting table - represents an exceptional value. It's an easy-to-drink, refreshing wine - made in a fruity but dry style - but it's hardly one-dimensional.
NEWS
By MICHAEL DRESSER | May 17, 2006
This California white wine from the House of Bonny Doon is one of the usual suspects in wine warden Randall Grahm's lineup of high-quality beverages. This clean, crisp, dry yet fruity wine - guarded by a fierce-looking but very protective screw cap - assaults the taster with flavors of pear, citrus fruit, melons, peach, honey and apple. It then finishes off the unsuspecting palate with a shank-thrust of grassy sauvignon blanc - a co-conspirator with viognier, chenin blanc, French colombard, pinot blanc and marsanne in this criminally decadent blend.
NEWS
By ROB KASPER | January 25, 2006
I tried to drink an entire country: South Africa. Not a good idea. Too big, too many wines. I soon figured out that a better approach was to pick representative wines - three reds, three whites and a dessert wine - that I would want to repeatedly pour in my glass. For whites, those turned out to be Kanu Chenin Blanc 2004 ($10), Mulderbosch Sauvignon Blanc 2005 ($24) and Neil Ellis Groenekloof Sauvignon Blanc 2004 ($17). Reds were Dieu Donne Pinotage 2001 ($17), Graham Beck Pinno 2004 ($10)
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By Michael Dresser | September 29, 2004
2002 Folie a Deux Menage a Trois, California Red Table Wine ($12). Never tried a Menage a Trois? Maybe it's time. This mid-priced blend of three red varietals (hence the name) brings together cabernet franc, merlot and zinfandel in a lively Beaujolais-style wine. It displays vibrant flavors of black cherry, smoked meat and spices, with the aromatics of cabernet franc and the suppleness of merlot. Folie a Deux has also produced a white Menage a Trois - an unusual blend of muscat, chardonnay and chenin blanc - that is also a fine value at $12.
NEWS
By Michael Dresser and Michael Dresser,Sun Wine Critic | July 2, 2003
Summer belongs to the young. If you have any doubt, just walk along the boardwalk in Ocean City and watch the people passing by. It's much the same with wine. Though connoisseurs may praise the subtleties and complexities of well-aged wines, July is not their time of year. When the days are long and the weather is hot, youth becomes a virtue in wine. The producer who can kick last year's vintage out the door fast enough to reach store shelves by Memorial Day becomes a winemaking genius.
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