The team at Explore Sideways does a LOT of wine tasting and we’ve been really excited to see how so many wineries are starting to embrace the heritage of Chenin blanc. Historically, Pinotage has been the most distinctive South African wine but many industry insiders say that Chenin is taking center stage as it gains notoriety and recognition abroad. We sat down with our friend and celebrity sommelier, Higgo Jacobs, to find out what’s behind this movement and which are his favorite Chenin blancs that are leading the charge.
Chenin from the Cape is all the rage at the moment, and for good reason. No other white variety captures the sunshine and diverse terroir of South Africa as well in a glass, and not only do we have plenty of it (with quality generally getting better the older the vine gets), but we also own the category for Chenin produced in the ‘New World’. Previously seen as a workhorse for wine production in the Cape, and therefore also authentically integrated as one of our established varieties with a long heritage, the variety has been rediscovered and now offers an embarrassment of riches across a wide spectrum of price points and styles.