IF THERE was an award for the most confused grape in the world, the gold medal would surely go to Chenin Blanc. In France, it has an undistinguished history making everything from poor sparkling wines, through bland and boring dry whites, to slightly more memorable sweet wines.

However, every dog has its day and the same is evidently true for grape vines because, somewhere in the 20th century, the South African wine industry claimed the variety as its own and after a slow, laborious beginning, they started to make some half-decent wines. True, it was a mainstay of many of the old three-for-a-tenner offers but, to be honest, I wouldn't use those to shampoo my terrier.

The focus now, however, is very much on quality rather than volume. If you like clean, refreshing whites with overtones of apples and hints of chalk or flint on the palate then these are the wines for you.

In many ways they are like easier to understand cousins of Chablis and the good news is that even the top ones are a fraction of the price of the latter. Anyway, if the sun comes back in the next week or so, Chenin is the grape to try, but only from South Africa folks.

Radford Dale Chenin, SA

Orange peel on the nose with apples, lemons and spices on the palate. This really is one of the best value fine white wines you will find.

Oddbins £13

Single Vision Chenin, SA

This is quite delightful on the palate. It's been aged on the lees for four months which adds a creamy richness to the pineapple fruits. Crisp and very refreshing

Majestic £11.99