Looking for the best chenin blanc wine? Want to know our pick of this French grape? Read our expert guide, then check out our favourite vineyards in the UK, best champagne, best chardonnay and guide to oaked wine for more wine inspiration.


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Chenin blanc is something of a shy but very stalwart grape. Not as popular as pinot grigio, chardonnay or sauvignon blanc, yet more versatile than them all, chenin is made in styles ranging from simple, everyday dry wines with apple-and-pear tartness to luscious dessert wines, as well as some excellent fizz.

Its spiritual home is France’s Loire valley, in the Anjou-Saumur and Touraine regions, with Vouvray being its most famous appellation. Its keen acidity is what gives chenin such versatility and ageing potential, as well as its characteristic zesty freshness.

Chenin was traditionally vinified in used oak barrels and aged oxidatively – that is, exposed to oxygen to add richness and complexity to the wines as well as notes of toasted nuts, spice and honey. Sweetness levels are indicated by the terms sec, demi-sec, moelleux and doux (driest to sweetest). The trend now is to make modern, dry wines made with moderate or no use of oak, but the more traditional styles can also have great charm – demi-secs may be unfashionable but they go well with comforting, creamy dishes as well as with gently spiced food. Savennières is the region to seek out for concentrated, complex dry wines.

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Some 63% of the Loire’s chenin goes to make sparkling wine. Made in the same way as champagne, crémant de loire, including the more appellation-specific saumur brut and sparkling vouvray, has seen huge growth as it offers high-quality bubbles at pocket-friendly prices.

South Africa is chenin’s New World home, and the country’s most widely planted grape. There are plenty of inexpensive bottles on the market – bright, fruity dry wines with no wood influence that will appeal to most palates, and those exposed to oak (usually indicated on the label) giving richer, tropical drinking with layers of vanilla and toasted nuts. They make reliable budget choices. There are also many interesting, distinctive chenins, often from old vines, that are well worth exploring if you can afford to trade up a bit.

Best chenin blanc at a glance

  • Best biodynamic chenin: Domaine des Forges ‘Les Onnis’ Coteaux du Layon, Tanners, £24
  • Best for a clean, mineral finish: Domaine Nicolas Reau Attention Chenin Méchant, Sip Wines, £19.15
  • Best for sparkling chenin: Bouvet Ladubay ‘Trésor’ Saumur Brut 2018, Majestic, £16.99
  • Best versatile chenin: Vouvray Sec ‘Confidences’, Famille Bougrier 2021, The Wine Society, £9.50
  • Best budget chenin: Morrisons The Best Chenin Blanc, Morrisons, £8

Best chenin blanc to buy 2023

Domaine des Forges ‘Les Onnis’ Coteaux du Layon

A bottle of Domaine des Forges ‘Les Onnis’ Coteaux du Layon

Best biodynamic chenin

Stunning sweet biodynamic chenin, silky and luscious with layers of candied orange, ginger and toasted nuts. Great with a cheeseboard.

Available from:
Tanners (£24)

Domaine Nicolas Reau Attention Chenin Méchant

A bottle of Domaine Nicolas Reau Attention Chenin Mechant

Best for a clean, mineral finish

Made from 40-year-old vines, fermented in oak with indigenous yeasts, this is wonderfully textured with a quince-like richness and clean, mineral finish. Try it with this dill butter prawn linguine.

Available from:
Sip Wines (£19.15)

Bouvet Ladubay ‘Trésor’ Saumur Brut 2018

A bottle of Bouvet Ladubay Saumur-Brut

Best sparkling chenin

Bubbles made in the traditional way. It's bright with a zesty citrus zing and a little toastiness from its oak ageing.

Available from:
Majestic (£16.99)

Vouvray Sec ‘Confidences’, Famille Bougrier 2021

A bottle of Vouvray Sec ‘Confidences’, Famille Bougrier 2021

Best versatile chenin

Top value for this classic unoaked vouvray – pristine fruit with a pretty floral nose and just enough weight to make it versatile with food.

Available from:
The Wine Society (£9.50)

Morrisons The Best Chenin Blanc

A bottle of Morrisons The Best Chenin Blanc

Best budget chenin

Gently oaked South African at a fantastic price, that balances honeyed tropical fruit with green apple crispness. This chicory and apple salad with candied walnuts would be a great match.

Available from:
Morrisons (£8)


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Kate HawkingsWine Columnist

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