The Paradox of Chenin Blanc

The wines were quite different, though the sample size was far too small to reach any conclusions about whether they represent their various terroirs. The Badenhorst nonetheless is a perfect example of the sweet-and-dry paradox of chenin blanc. This wine had the beautiful, rich texture that I often find in good examples. It tasted strongly of lemon, but with an earthy element and a final bright, floral, honeyed impression. The wine was definitely dry, refreshing and lively enough to prompt the next sip. I have to say, I was thoroughly impressed with this wine. But what most stood out about this wine was its energy and vibrant acidity. It had aromas of flowers and lemon, as well as that signature touch of honey. Altogether, it was tangy, lip-smacking and succulent, another great value at $18. But it also includes the added value of getting a wine from a stretch of the Loire Valley that is hallowed ground for chenin blanc, and from one of the region’s most respected producers. Each of these wines was absolutely dry, and each had the capacity nonetheless to convey an impression of tender sweetness. This is a wonderful, perhaps mystifying characteristic of the chenin blanc grape, assuming, naturally, that it is grown in a proper place, farmed conscientiously and made into wine with care and attention.