Category Archives: Chenin Blanc

May 05 2015

Wines to Put on Your Radar: Great value Vouvray – Domaine Pichot, Couteau de la Biche Chenin Blanc

Posted on May 05, 2015 | By

The Wine Spectator’s James Molesworth calls chenin blanc the “insider’s” variety, describing its following as small and loyal. For savvy wine consumers, its relatively low profile is good news. Not only is this unfamiliar white wine variety of the Loire Valley a great conversation starter over dinner, but even in Australia you can find very good examples at great prices!

The best expressions of chenin blanc in France come from Vouvray, where the ‘tuffeau’ chalk covered with clay, flint and sand soils creates minerally wines with a chalk or flinty streak and typically notes of pear, ginger, honeysuckle, persimmon, quince and lime zest. Naturally high in acidity, it’s versatile enough to be used for  a variety of styles including sparkling, dry, off-dry and dessert-style versions.

Last week I thoroughly enjoyed the dry style Domaine Pichot Couteau de la Biche Vouvray 2011 over dinner at China Doll.  At first it was aromatic and light, but after a bit of time in the glass the wine opened up and gained weight and texture. Its clean fresh palate displayed crisp apple flavours complemented by ripe pear and honeysuckle. It proved a perfect accompaniment for the the slightly spicy yet delicate Asian cuisine.

Domaine Pichot is an amalgamation of the properties of the father (Jean-Claude) ‘Coteau de la Biche’ and the son (Christophe) ‘Peu de la Moriette’ located mainly in the prime Vouvray sites of Le Mont and Haut Lieu at the top of the village. The Pichot family is one of the oldest in Vouvray with origins as viticulturists and restaurateurs going back to 1739. Its 25 ha of organically farmed vineyards are considered among the best in Vouvray.

by Merrill Witt, Editor

Cracka Wines has the Domain Pichot Couteau de la Biche Vouvray 2012 for $28.99. The wine is imported … Read the rest

Nov 11 2010

Chenin Blanc: A Worthy Alternative to Sauvignon Blanc!

Posted on November 11, 2010 | By

Dr Vino recently interviewed South African winemaker Ken Forrester, Talking Chenin Blanc with Ken Forrester of South Africa, 29 October 2010. The article caught my attention, because Forrester has made chenin blanc a specialty at his eponymous winery in Stellenborsch. I had tasted the Redgate Chenin Blanc 2010 and the Voyager Estate Chenin Blanc 2009 at the Margaret River in Sydney event last week, so I was keen to learn a little more about this aromatic and lively white wine.

In the interview Forrester explained his relationship with the grape: “It is like a cat: when you call it, it looks at you quizzically, then an hour later he’s there rubbing your leg with a look saying, ‘you called’? Same with Chenin: you put it in barrel and taste it and it doesn’t taste like much right away. But when you come back in six months, it has transformed, leaving you wondering, ‘Gee, where did that come from?’ ”

Chenin blanc is the white wine variety of the Loire Valley in France, where it is also known as Pineau de la Loire. Its high acidity gives it great versatility. Wines utilising chenin blanc range from dry to semi-sweet to rich botrytised dessert wines and sparkling whites. Well made chenin blanc is any style typically exhibits floral, honeyed aromas, tropical fruit flavours and a zesty acidity that mellows as the wine develops depth and complexity with age.

Probably the most famous French expressions of chenin blanc are the Loire’s great sweet wines. Domaine le Haut Lieu (Gaston Huet) Vouvray, for example, makes sweet wines that are almost on the same pedestal as the fabled Chateau d’Yquem. These wines are renowned for their ageability, the best lasting decades or longer.

Outside of France chenin blanc has a spotted history. In South … Read the rest