It still surprises me just how many people aren\u2019t turned on to Chenin Blanc. When attempting to sing its praises, I often hear, \u201cDo you mean Sauvignon Blanc?\u201d No, I don\u2019t mean Sauvy.\u00ad I\u2019m talking Chenin: the white wine that you should be considering for your glass and your cellar.\n\nWhile Chenin Blanc\u2019s vinous birthplace is the Loire Valley\u2014where it produces some remarkable wines from appellations like Quarts de Chaume, Savenni\u00e8res and Vouvray\u2014it\u2019s not necessarily the hallmark variety of the entire region, since so many other grapes are grown and thrive there.\n\nThere\u2019s another country that\u2019s leading the Chenin charge, creating an unmistakable association between the grape and the region\u2014despite the many other varieties also grown there\u2014as the go-to for wines that are worthy of serious consideration and attention.\n\nIt\u2019s time to know Chenin Blanc, especially those from South Africa.\n\nIn South Africa, Chenin Blanc previously held a reputation as a workhorse grape, a vigorous variety with high yields used for simple, large-production wines and the base for local brandy distillation. But the variety has taken on an entirely new image.\n\nToday, it produces high-quality wines across multiple styles and appellations within the country.\n\nKnown to acclimate to a variety of conditions, Chenin deftly expresses\u00ad terroir. Cool-climate selections showcase zippy acidity and notes of citrus peel, while those from warmer appellations offer a broader mouthfeel and ripe melon or apple characteristics.\n\nWines from sites surrounded by fynbos, the natural shrublands and heathlands of the Cape Winelands, reflect those herbal influences, in contrast to those from coastal sites that are pinned with an unmistakable saline accent. Granitic soils contribute a linear, flinty mineral character, while wines from clay-rich soils frequently exhibit rounder textures and riper fruit expressions.\n\nThen there\u2019s the old vines. Chenin Blanc is a historic South African cultivar, and there are registered vineyards that are more than 100 years old. These ancient beauties are among the world\u2019s greatest vinous treasures, weathered but grounded and settled, completely in tune to their surroundings. Initiatives like the Old Vine Project seek to preserve\u00ad these sites to keep the old vines and soils healthy and viable.\n\n\n\nWines produced from such old vines exhibit a natural balance between\u00ad concentration and finesse. They\u2019re complex wines of depth and intrigue that can cellar gracefully from five to 15 years, if not more.\n\nSurprised? Don\u2019t be. Well-made Chenins have impressive aging potential, and world-class South African bottlings are available at a fraction of the cost of other cellarworthy white wines. Fresh, unwooded Chenins often benefit from a year or two in bottle after release, while more concentrated and wooded selections can cellar well for 15 years or more.\n\nDuring my trip to South Africa in July, I tasted a few different mid-level 2006 Chenin\u00ad Blancs, all of which were still very much vibrant, alive and evolving well.\n\nGiven Chenin\u2019s naturally high acidity and the range of styles and characteristics it can express, you can also find a perfect pairing for just about any meal or dish. There\u2019s a reason Chenin Blanc has been a darling in the sommelier and hospitality world.\n\nCompelling points, right? Give the grape its proper due. Join me as #WEtaste, and #drinkchenin today.\n\nThe Standard Top 10\nNot sure where to begin? Start with the Top 10 from the 2017 Standard Bank/Chenin Blanc Association Challenge.\nCederberg Private Cellar 2015 Five Generations (Cederberg)\nDeMorgenzon 2016 Reserve (Stellenbosch) \nFleur du Cap 2016 Unfiltered (Western Cape)\nNederburg 2016 Heritage Heroes The Anchorman (Western Cape)\nPerdeberg Winery 2016 The Dry Land Collection Courageous Barrel Fermented (Paarl)\nSpice Route 2016 Swartland\nSpier 2016 21 Gables (Coastal Region)\nStellenrust 2016 52 Barrel Fermented (Stellenbosch)\nStellenrust 2015 51 Barrel Fermented (Stellenbosch)\nWindmeul Kelder 2016 Reserve (Coastal Region)\n\nManaging Editor/Tasting Director Lauren Buzzeo\u2019s love affair with South African Chenin Blanc began over a decade ago, when she had her first sip of Ken Forrester\u2019s FMC.