Simonsig Chenin Blanc 2005

Chenin blanc makes extraordinary wine, dry and sweet and in between, in the French region of Vouvray, and a few California producers do something nice with it, too. But for a wine that's both delicious and double-take inexpensive, it's hard to beat SIMONSIG CHENIN BLANC 2005, from South Africa's Stellenbosch region. Chenin blanc does famously well in South Africa—the grape accounts for about 20 percent of all the plantings in the country—and this one is a jewel, ripe and aromatic, fainltly petillant, luscious (think apricot nectar), and only very slightly hot in the finish. Not a wine to fuss about; one to drink big, frosty goblets of.