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Chenin Blanc, France

Chenin Blanc is an important white grape variety planted in the Anjou-Saumur and Touraine regions of the Loire Valley. In Australia, it is popular in Western Australia especially within the Swan Valley and Peel regions near Perth. Where they produce beautiful floral, tropical aromas, that are designed to drink young and fresh.

Its home in France is the Loire, where outstanding dry, sweet and sparkling wines are produced. The famous wines of Vouvray, Savenniéres, Samour and Coteaux du Layon are all made from Chenin Blanc. The best Loire Chenin Blancs have concentrated rich, honeyed fruit, together with refreshingly vibrant acidity.

Called Steen in South Africa, it is the most widely planted variety. The best examples come from Stellenbosch where it can also be oak aged to create a full-bodied style. The best producers keep their yields down, producing impressive wines. Chenin Blanc is also used as a cheap blending option with Chardonnay, Colombard, and Muscat.
Wine is being produced throughout France and has been done for over 2,500 years with certain Châteaux dating their history back to Roman times, around 6th Century BC. Ranking second in the world in per-capita consumption and first in total production quantity. More-so than the overall quantity of wine is the quantity of truly great wines coming out of France makes the nation the envy of wine-making nations worldwide.

Two concepts pivotal to the higher end French wines, in particular, are the idea of 'terroir' and the Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée (AOC) system. Terroir refers to the way the geography, geology and climate find their way into the glass, telling a story of the origin of the wine. The AOC was set up in 1935 and has the primary goal of protecting the authenticity of the wines and the livelihoods of the producers. Appellation rules strictly define which varieties of grapes and winemaking practices are approved for classification in each of France's several hundred geographically defined appellations, which can cover entire regions, individual villages or in some cases, like in Burgundy even specific vineyards.

Classic wine regions in France include Champagne (home of Champagne), Burgundy (Pinot Noir and Chardonnay), Bordeaux (Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Malbec, Petit Verdot), Alsace (Aromatic varietals), Loire Valley (Chenin Blanc, Crémant) and the Rhône Valley (Syrah, Grenache Mourvedre)

The Bordeaux classification of 1855 is still in use, as is the Sauternes and Barsac Classification of the same year. Wines from certain regions can be bought En Primeur, which is when the wine is sold prior to it being bottled.
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  1. Marc Bredif Vouvray Classic 2020
    A brilliant pale gold colour. A fine bouquet full of the aromas of white flowers and yellow fruit (Pear William). One finds citrus notes on breathing (grapefruit). The attack is gentle with a lovely vivacity where one finds agreeable notes ... Learn More
  2. Domaine Belargus Anjou Noir 2020
    A regional cuvée that provides the gateway to the Belargus universe. This wine exhibits alluring aromas of dried leaves and citrus. The palate is seductively built with flavours of savoury spices, dried leaves, and tart citrus. ... Learn More
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    Robert Parker
  3. Domaine Belargus Savennières “Gaudrets” 2018
    Coming from a set of plots located high up in the village of Savennières, on a plateau of aeolian sands and deep black schists, the “Gaudrets” cuvée embodies the typical profile of Savennières wines. This cuvée ... Learn More
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    Mike Bennie
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    Robert Parker
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