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Flavor of chenin blanc is difficult to predict

Some wine bottle labels are so fascinating that they seem to create a kind of art gallery on retailers’ shelves, racks and end-cap displays. Although I can spend hours looking at these labels, I try not to let their inviting graphics seduce me into a purchase. Every so often, though, I give in.

That was the case with the Graham Beck 2009 The Game Reserve Chenin Blanc from South Africa. When I saw the bottle at Grapevine Wines, 309 South Kirkwood Road, I had to buy it. The label has a marvelous illustration of a rabbit with enormous ears. Even though I rarely buy chenin blanc, this classic drawing of the endangered Riverine rabbit made me overcome my resistance. I’m glad it did.

Not only was the wine delicious, but I was thrilled to discover that the Graham Beck winery has a private nature reserve that serves as home to Riverine rabbits, which the winery describes as South Africa’s most threatened species of mammal.

The reason I needed the drawing to convince me to buy the wine was because I’m never sure what chenin blanc will taste like. Wines made from the grape can range from dry to sweet. Unless the label provides that information or you are familiar with the winery’s style, the flavor is a guess.


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