I like the idea of a Chenin Blanc vs Gewürztraminer comparison. These are two very different white wines.
Chenin Blanc has higher acid with pear and melon. Gewürztraminer has low acid with lychee, rose, and spice. Both can be dry to off-dry.
Here’s what you need to know about Chenin Blanc vs Gewürztraminer wines.
- Chenin Blanc Basics: Easy-drinking White
- Gewurztraminer Basics: Aromatic Allure from Alsace and Beyond
- Wine Comparison: Chenin Blanc vs. Gewurztraminer
- Chenin Blanc vs. Gewürztraminer: Food Pairings and Serving Temperature
- Which Is More Expensive, Chenin Blanc vs. Gewürztraminer?
- Which Is Better, Chenin Blanc or Gewürztraminer?
- Final Thoughts – Chenin Blanc or Gewürztraminer?
- Thirsty for More?
Chenin Blanc Basics: Easy-drinking White
Originally from the Pineau region in the Loire Valley, France, Chenin Blanc remains closely connected to its origins where it makes a range of white wines – from dry, to sweet, and even sparkling.
But it has done some traveling. Today, Chenin Blanc is the most widely planted grape in South Africa.
Fun Wine Fact: In the 1980s, California had more Chenin Blanc planted than France, but it fell out of favor. Today, Chenin grapes are used to make non-descript, non-vintage white table wine in California. If you have a bottle of generic White California Wine, it probably has some Chenin Blanc in it.
Like many other wines, Chenin Blanc can go by different names. If you see any of the following on a bottle of white wine, it’s Chenin Blanc:
- Steen (South Africa)
- Bonnezeaux (France)
- Pineau de la Loire (home of Chenin Blanc)
- Savennières (France – arguably some of the highest quality Chenin Blanc in the world)
- Vouvray (France – super popular Chenin Blanc producing region)
- Quarts de Chaume (France – one of the world’s most exclusive dessert wines)
Helpful Tip: Go check out this complete guide to Chenin Blanc.
Gewurztraminer Basics: Aromatic Allure from Alsace and Beyond
Despite its Germanic name and origin, the Alsace region of France is most closely associated with Gewürztraminer wine production. Situated in the rainshadow just east of the Voges mountains, Alsace enjoys a sunny, dry climate perfect for the Gewürztraminer grape. The high latitude helps keep the grapes cool at night, prolonging the growing season and allowing Gewürztraminer to fully ripen.
Gewürztraminer is almost always dry or off-dry with a medium body and plush aromatics of ripe citrus, rose, ginger, and lychee.
Here’s more on Gewurztraminer wine.
Wine Comparison: Chenin Blanc vs. Gewurztraminer
Here’s a quick side-by-side comparison of the most common styles of Chenin Blanc and Gewürztraminer.
|Pale to medium gold
|Pale to medium gold
|Green apple, pear, honeydew, floral
|Lychee, rose, spice
|Dry, Off-dry, Sweet, Sparkling
|Dry to off-dry
|Medium + to High
|Low to medium
|Medium to Pronounced
(Less than Gewürz)
|Medium to Pronounced
|Key Growing Regions
|Loire Valley (France), South Africa
|Alsace (France), Germany, Austria
|Seafood, poultry, salads, Asian cuisine
|Spicy dishes, Asian cuisine,
Curry, Mexican, Stinky Cheese
Chenin Blanc Wine Profile
- Sweetness: Chenin Blanc wines cover the spectrum from bone-dry to off-dry. Chenin Blanc makes sweet dessert wines and sparkling wines, too.
- Alcohol: Chenin Blanc wines generally have a moderate alcohol content, ranging from around 12% to 14% ABV.
- Body: Chenin Blanc typically has a light to medium body, maybe a little lighter than Gewürztraminer.
- Acid: Chenin Blanc typically has higher acid Gewürztraminer, making it seem fresher and lighter in your mouth.
- Flavor and Aroma Intensity: Chenin Blanc is less aromatic on the nose than Gewürztraminer, with notes of green apple, belong, and tropical fruit. Expect a honeyed note in your Chenin Blanc, along with that green tree fruit.
Gewürztraminer Wine Profile
- Sweetness: Gewürztraminer wines cover the spectrum from bone-dry to off-dry.
- Alcohol: Expect your Gewürztraminer wine to higher alcohol, around 13%-15% ABV.
- Body: Gewurztraminer has a medium-bodied profile that will feel heavier in your mouth than Chenin Blanc.
- Acid: Gewurztraminer is lower in acid than Chenin Blanc.
- Flavor and Aroma Intensity: Flavors of lychee, rose, ginger, ripe citrus. Gewürztraminer is a perfumed, aromatic white wine.
Are Chenin Blanc and Gewürztraminer Similar?
Chenin Blanc and Gewürztraminer are similar. Both wines are medium bodied whites made in dry to off-dry styles. They both pair well with spicy cuisine.
What Is the Difference Between Chenin Blanc and Gewürztraminer?
Gewürztraminer tends to have a more pronounced body and an aromatic intensity marked by distinctive floral and spice notes than Chenin Blanc. Additionally, Gewürztraminer offers a richer palate with tropical fruit and spiciness, while Chenin Blanc tends towards apple, pear, and honey notes with a touch of minerality.
Chenin Blanc vs. Gewürztraminer: Food Pairings and Serving Temperature
- Gewürztraminer’s medium body, and floral and ginger aromatics make it a wonderful pairing partner for stinky cheeses, blue cheese dressing, and also heavier dishes with spice, like curries, Mexican, and Middle Eastern cuisine. Yum!
- Chenin Blanc, with it’s lighter style, pairs well with lighter dishes: seafood, creamy pasta, salads, and white meats.
Personal Note: I love Gewurztraminer with aged gouda
Both Chenin Blanc and Gewürztraminer are best enjoyed chilled. Refrigerate them overnight or for a few hours before serving. For Gewürztraminer, take the bottle out of the refrigerator approximately 10-15 minutes before pouring to reach the ideal serving temperature. Chenin Blanc can be enjoyed immediately after opening.
Which Is More Expensive, Chenin Blanc vs. Gewürztraminer?
Comparing the prices of Chenin Blanc and Gewürztraminer prompts natural curiosity about bottle costs
Chenin Blanc Cost
- Entry-level Chenin Blancs are accessible, often in the $15 USD range.
- A higher quality bottle from South Africa will cost around $20 USD, and one from the Loire Valley, France (e.g., Vouvray AOC) will be $30-$50 USD. Expect boutique bottlings from California to be in a similar price range.
- Entry-level Gewürztraminer wines are usually priced between $15 and $20 per bottle. These are lovely bottles that are a good place to start.
- Premium Gewürztraminer from renowned regions or prestigious wineries can range from $20 to $40 or more, reflecting their exceptional craftsmanship.
Which Is Better, Chenin Blanc or Gewürztraminer?
If you prefer a well-balanced, medium-bodied white wine with versatile food pairing options, Chenin Blanc is the better choice for you. If you enjoy fuller styles of white wine with an aromatic and intense profile, Gewürztraminer is the better wine. Consider your preferences and budget when making a decision.
Personal Note: I keep Gewürztraminer in my cellar because I enjoy aromatic and perfumed white wines. I don’t keep still Chenin Blanc in my cellar. It’s an everyday white table wine in most cases. I do keep sparkling Chenin Blanc, called Cremant de Loire, as a lovely weeknight evening sparkling wine treat that’s less expensive than Champagne. 😀
Final Thoughts – Chenin Blanc or Gewürztraminer?
Both Chenin Blanc and Gewürztraminer are fun white wines to compare because they’re so distinctive.
- Hosting a side-by-side tasting is the best way to explore the differences between these two classic white wines.
- Get yourself 2 bottles of similarly priced Gewürztraminer and Chenin Blanc, invite a few friends over, and do your own tasting.
Gewürztraminer captures floral aromatics and gentle spice that are warm and inviting in your glass. Chenin Blanc is the quaffable white wine many enjoy.
Thirsty for More?
If you’re eager to delve further into the world of wine, consider hosting your own wine tasting for beginners.