KWV Chenin Blanc

2011 KWV Chenin Blanc, $8. LCBO#18689.

I may being selling my soul to the Walmart of South African wineries with this review, but I have to say that this is the best cheap white wine I have discovered to date.

I bought it on a whim, because I really like Inniskillin’s Chenin Blanc from the Okanagan. It is crisp, fresh, not too dry, perfect in the summer. It is also hard to come by in Ontario, so I usually only enjoy it on a patio in Calgary once a year. A bottle runs about $17, which is a fair price for the quality.

This KWV bottle caught my eye in the LCBO, but the $8 price tag left me sceptical and even feeling a little guilty. How can you grow the grapes and get them all the way to Canada at that price, without some serious worker exploitation? I can’t speak for KWV’s business practices, but if I can’t get a decent bottle of wine all the way from New Zealand for less than $15, how can they produce one for $8? As well, if a Canadian Chenin Blanc runs for the double the price, how good can an $8 bottle be?

But once I sampled some of the KWV, I was sold. All social conscience flew out the window, and all I could think was, I can buy many, many of these bottles, and my bank account will be still be happy.

To date, most white wines I have tried that are under $10 are watery, or sweet, or yeasty or just plain crap. My first sip of the KWV was a blissful change from the usual disappointment.

The wine is crisp, medium bodied and dry. Still fruity and tropical, with some green apple and citrus in there, and is nicely balanced. Very food friendly- I used some to make a sauce for chicken, and it went nicely with the meal as well.

It is safe to say that this wine will have a permanent place in the door of my fridge- ready to take the edge off a bad day at work, to cook with, or to share with a friend.

Overall, I give this wine 8.5/10 and 5/5 for value.

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