Wine of the Week: 2018 MAN Family Wines Chenin Blanc

Chenin blanc is the most widely planted grape variety in South Africa, where it’s used for both dry and sweet wines as well as sparkling and sherry-type wines and even distilled products. It’s a workhorse, for sure, but that doesn’t mean it should be dismissed. A fresh, fruity South African chenin is a great beverage for summer (or, really, any time of year). And the price is usually very affordable.

This bottling from MAN Family Wines is a great example and a good value. The wine is racy, almost tart, with flavors of apple, lemon and quince. A lot of refreshment for just $12.

The label includes the notation “free-run steen.” Steen is the traditional South African name for chenin blanc, although nearly all producers are now using the more common name. The winery uses only the free-run juice, with no pressing of the grapes.

I tasted this wine at home, but I’ve since tasted a number of South African wines at the source. Look for more on this dynamic wine-producing country in the coming weeks.