Ray Isle (@islewine on Twitter) is Food & Wine's executive wine editor. We trust his every cork pop and decant - and the man can sniff out a bargain to boot. Take it away, Ray.
I have enormous respect for Chenin Blanc, but this is one grape that definitely needs to spend some time in a military academy. Left to its own devices, after a few years Chenin vines sprawl out, get all broad and flabby, and start overproducing like the Octomom.
But with a little firm discipline (shoot- and cluster-thinning, which is vineyard-manager-speak for “drop and give me twenty, dogface!”) suddenly they're a source for crisp, complex—and underrated—white wines. Here are five that have been whipped into shape.
5 Chenin Blanc Bottles to Hunt Down
2011 Indaba Chenin Blanc ($10)
2010 Mulderbosch Chenin Blanc ($13)
2010 Pine Ridge Vineyards Chenin Blanc-Viognier ($14)
2009 Domaine Huet Le Haut Lieu Sec Vouvray ($30, more or less)
Previously - A grape that could use some love: Dolcetto
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