CHENIN BLANC RENAISSANCE
In celebration of International Drink Chenin Day on 17th June, we're shining a light on the world’s most versatile grape, and one that has been a part of our story since the beginning…
Chenin Blanc is having a moment. Across the country, adventurous winemakers from the Swan Valley to Margaret River and beyond are pushing the boundaries, elevating the grape to new heights with exciting expressions popping up on every wine list.
Originally hailing from the Loire Valley in France, Chenin Blanc is infamous for making wines up and down the scale, from crisp sparkling styles to lusciously sweet dessert wines.
Voyager Estate Winemaker, Travis Lemm, suggests that the allure is in its ability to express the terroir of where it’s grown more than any other grape variety.
“It’s a bit of a chameleon really – very reflective of the season, the climate, and the soil type of where it’s grown. It loves the cool of the Loire but does equally well here in Margaret River where the seasons are consistently warm. The adaptability of the variety means the possibilities for experimentation are endless.”
At Voyager, we are proud to say that Chenin Blanc isn’t a new proposition – it is firmly part of our DNA, with heritage vines on our Estate dating back to original 1978 plantings. Our fascination began with an easy-drinking fruit-driven style, which has evolved into a wine with more palate definition and savoury tones. The introduction of barrel fermentation to select parcels adds layers of complexity and builds a platform around the amazing natural acidity of the variety.
With each passing season, our team have tapped into the grape’s versality more and more, exploring different clones and sites to craft expressive wines that reflect the nuances of our coastal home.
Over time, they realised our organically farmed Weightmans Block 1 vineyard produced Chenin Blanc fruit with stunning purity and freshness – perfect for making a sparkling aperitif style.
“We set out to craft a new wine that was distinctly Western Australian and suited our sunny climate and lifestyle, and I think we’ve proven what can be achieved when judicious work is done in the vineyard and the right sites are expressed. It’s a truly delicious, great value sparkling that continues to be refined each year of its journey," Travis continued.
Our 2021 Sparkling Chenin Blanc displays light citrus and fresh green apple, with elegance and complexity from time spent on lees – a new release with plenty of mojo that pairs beautifully with Western Australia’s incredible local seafood.
As vintage wraps up for another year and the team look ahead to what’s next, Travis says the journey of exploration will continue with the first organically farmed crops coming into the winery from our newly established plantings of the ‘Noack’ clone.
“We have sourced our cuttings from the Swan Valley and are super excited by the loose bunch formation and spectrum of fruit this particular clone produces. The aim is to craft a new wine – the Project U9 Chenin – which will be handpicked and whole bunch pressed, with fermentation taking place in old oak. It will be a more serious, structured look at the variety and will take Chenin Blanc at our Estate to the next level in the coming years – watch this space.”