While often under represented on the North Fork wine scene, the chenin grape should be on white wine lovers’ radar. Both tart and sweet, the Paumanok 2014 Chenin Blanc is often referred to as “Venice lemonade.” The tangy yet refreshing vino is a must try, making it northforker’s Wine of the Week.
Similar to riesling, the chenin grapes can produce a variety of wines ranging from dry to sweet. The Paumanok 2014 Chenin Blanc is a semi-dry wine made from a blend of the Aquebogue vineyard’s four lots of chenin, winemaker Kareem Massoud said.
“Ours has a sweet and sour character,” he said. “It starts sweets, but has a dry finish the same way lemonade can be really thirst quenching and refreshing because it has that tartness. When you chill it you get this citrus, sensational beverage.”
Unlike other table wine, the grapes for Chenin Blanc are harvested earlier in the season, prior to Thanksgiving. This gives the wine a hint of residual CO2, causing a slight spritz when it hits the palate, Massoud said. The wine then underwent a slow, cool fermentation in stainless steel tanks and was bottled with a screw cap to preserve its freshness.
When tasting the Chenin Blanc you’ll notice flavors of grapefruit and pineapple, with more subtle notes of apple, pear and honey, he said.
“The Chenin Blanc stands really well on its own,” he said. “It is hugely popular in the tasting room.”
The is also a “go to” when dining on local oysters, he said.
“Chenin Blanc pairs excellently with shellfish and seafood in general,” Massoud said. “Of course it can go well with other things like sushi and Asian cuisine.”
A bottle retails for $28 at Paumanok Vineyards, located at 1074 Main Road in Aquebogue.