Chenin Blanc Is Good! – Chateau Soucherie - 2006 Anjou

May 07 2010 - 7:20 PM

I scored a 2006 Chateau Soucherie Anjou at Binny’s (Sam’s old stock I guess). It’s a pretty nice and even-flavored Chenin Blanc from Anjou (French appellation). Like Vouvray, the bottle advertises Anjou only and not a specific varietal. I’m assuming it’s a similar thing that Anjou pretty much means Chenin Blanc.

Chenin blanc gets second billing to sauvignon blanc as it is not a ‘noble grape’. That said, I like chenin blancs somewhat more than a typical bottle of sauvignon blanc. It’s unfortunately a generalization, and has to be when you’re simply comparing varietals, but I like the dry crisp minerality from a chenin. It’s lighter than the average sauv blanc, sometimes to a fault.  It has a very certain nose that, to me, is unmistakably French with a woody floral quality that I see in many Austrian and German wines – gruener fans rejoice specifically because they can get a bit more leg beyond the nose.

My biggest issues with sauv blancs, and grueners to a lesser extent, is that the taste-complexity never seems to live up to the nose. I’m absolutely sure there are many, many exceptions but with chenin blanc I find it to be more of a rule. Like chardonnay, chenin has a very rich straw flavor underneath, compared to a gruener’s minerality that borders on stone fruit or apple/pearishness (that’s the word of the day- pearishness). I get a clear difference between a chardonnay and a chenin but have to admit, now that spring is here, I will be choosing more chenin until it gets chilly. When you get an average chenin it can be watery which is not the worst risk to take.

If there were a counterpoint, perhaps the richness of a Sancerre sauv blanc would change my mind entirely but without any head to head tasting, I am quite happy with the lowly chenin! It also bears to mention that white Bordeaux can be quite a nice way to go. The blend of sauv blanc and semillon can build some great floral dry whites.

The Soucherie is up around 14% and I think that might pep up some otherwise sweeter tendencies of the grape.