Since it first came to light in France about a thousand years ago, Chenin Blanc has been known as a major white grape of the Loire Valley. Ten centuries later, however, it is South Africa that is this versatile grape’s largest producer, accounting for about 20 percent of its vineyards, about twice as many as in the Loire. It’s not that the country suddenly adopted Chenin Blanc; it was introduced into South Africa in the late 1600s. But it spent most of its years there as the country’s workhorse, a grape that blended easily with other grapes in an array of styles. And until recently, it was known there as Steen. Today, South Africa has rediscovered it, the best examples now appearing unblended, bottled as a 100 percent Chenin Blanc, labeled under its proper name (occasionally with Steen added) and offering a vibrant, opulent wine.
About 20 years ago, Mulderbosch Vineyards, one of South Africa’s finest wineries, was among the first to take Chenin Blanc seriously as a grape variety to stand on its own. Now it has introduced three Chenin Blancs, each made from the grapes of a different single vineyard and packaged together as the Chenin Blanc Single Vineyard Series. Tasting them together, one can discern subtle nuances among them, each differing slightly from the others in color, aroma, intensity and depth of flavor. Each expresses its particular vineyard, and all express the refreshing acidity of the grape; the vibrancy; creamy mouth feel; lush citrus fruit, apple, pear and mango flavors; and rich aromas.
While the three wines present as a single package ($99), Mulderbosch also offers individual bottles of wine made of the grape from other vineyards under the label Chenin Blanc Steen Op Hout, prices ranging from $13 to $18. It begins with a forward aroma of lemon and lime that carries into the tropical fruits in the taste and a striking acidity: a refreshing wine.
Other South African wineries have also rediscovered Chenin Blanc. Among the most flavorful ones I’ve tasted are Ken Forrester, Fairview, Spice Route, Franschhoek La Cotte Mill, Simonsig and Raats Family. Prices range from $15 to $39.
Chenin Blanc works well with many foods, particularly with sushi, poultry, seafood and spicy foods.
Welcome to Rhodes, a medieval treasure beautifully preserved throughout the centuries. Rhodes is the capital of the Dodecanese, an island ideal not only for those who want to relax, but also for those looking for an action-packed holiday! With its bright green hills, rich green valleys and uninterrupted line of golden beaches, Rhodes is truly a blessed place. “The sun island” has more sunshiny days and milder temperatures throughout the year than any other location in Greece. It is, after all, one of the country’s easternmost places and among the first to welcome summer on its impressive beaches. Add in the excellent facilities for tourism, the island’s special blend of cosmopolitan and traditional, and numerous cultural and archaeological sites, the most important being the Medieval (Old) Town, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and you’ve got the perfect holiday destination. While on Rhodes, don’t miss a daytrip to nearby Sými. An island of sponge divers and seamen, Sými used to have 30,000 inhabitants before the Second World War and was the richest island in the Dodecanese, despite its small size. Today, Sými attracts many visitors thanks to its beautifully preserved Neo-Classical buildings and the famous Archangel Michael monastery at Panormitis.
United Airlines announces a number of new routes.
Starting in November, guests at Four Seasons Resort Maldives at Landaa Giraavaru enjoy new all-pool water villas that offer twice as much outside space as indoor space. The villa expansions bring outdoor space to nearly 2,000 square feet across multiple “zones,” including sun decks, social spots, over-water hammocks, al fresco showers and dining areas. A 40-foot pool extends into the lagoon; nearby, a shaded, ocean-side living and dining pavilion offers unparalleled views.
TAP Air Portugal is adding 15 new weekly flights from the United States and Canada by summer 2020, a new record for the carrier of 71 weekly flights between North America and Portugal.
Even if you are not familiar with Chicago, you may already know the Wicker Park neighborhood is one of the city’s “eat like a local” destinations, especially among young professionals whose idea of local is actually quite global. After a decade of high-concept comfort food and gastro-pubs, the Tan family took over a homey space on North Avenue to mix things up with the opening of Cebu. Cebu is not just a Filipino restaurant, but one focused on Cebuano regional cooking along with its Chinese and Spanish underpinnings.