If your warm-weather wine-drinking habits are anything like mine, you’re always looking for something new and invigorating. After all, how much riesling, Chablis and Beaujolais can you drink (actually, a lot!)? Chenin blanc from South Africa offers a distinctive range of aromas and flavors, and generally sound acidity gives these wines serious refreshment value and the spine to work well at the table. Best of all, these wines can be dirt-cheap.
Chenin blanc, commonly called steen in the Cape region, has a history in South Africa dating back to the 17th century. It’s still the most widely planted variety there, though to be honest a lot of it is pretty dull. It continues to be a relative handful of producers, such as Ken Forrester, Bruwer Raats and Teddy Hall, who are carrying chenin’s banner… Long-time sauvignon blanc superstar Mulderbosch Vineyards also makes a consistently good, and cheap, chenin blanc.