Chenin Blanc is strangely not common in New Zealand, but is deceptively so worldwide. California and South Africa make fine examples but also use it for volume: plantings in each exceed its homeland, France. At home in the cool Loire Valley, Chenin grows near sibling-grape Sauvignon Blanc to make many important, mineral styles: from super-value Methode Traditionelle to complex, fleshy whites like Saumur and Vouvray to rich dessert wines like Bonnezeaux. Chenin is loved by exclusive dessert winemakers for the same reason it is by mass producers of still whites in sun-baked California: for its ability, like Riesling, to retain acid when very ripe. A versatile and impressive variety, top Chenins age for a century while basic ones never fail to please with seafood and white meats.