EVEN in the incestuous world of grape varieties where aunts and uncles often seem like brother and sister and your gran could be your dad, chenin blanc is a weirdo. It's got so many different DNA strands, it's a wonder it doesn't have webbed feet and, for many years, this darling of the Loire valley and workhorse of France was as misunderstood as its parentage.

While it still makes some rather confusing wines in France, South Africa has become its new champion and its gradually shaking off its three for a tenner status and becoming a wine to be reckoned with. I won't bother with the French versions because I'm not sure if even they understand which ones are sweet, dry or medium half the time, but in South Africa it's long been popular for its dry, fruity style and refreshing finish.

Lately however, while plantings of the variety have dropped, the use of oak ageing for the wines produced has increased and guess what? Yep, you guessed it, chenin loves oak...almost as much as its mother loved its uncle or whichever way around it started.

Chenin like chardonnay seems to absorb vanilla from oak barrels and it can add a lovely buttery and slightly complex edge to the finish that is just adorable. Just as the Jaguar used to be seen as the poor man's Rolls-Royce, a lot of the oaked chenins would please a burgundy lover who suddenly finds themselves on hard times.

That said, consistency is still an issue for chenin but in a world of safe wines, vintage after boring vintage, the odd renegade is surprisingly welcome in my eyes.

Classic Workhorse Chenin, SA

Floral on the nose with plenty of citrus fruits and a crisp, refreshing finish. Clean, fun and interesting

Marks & Spencer £8

Reyneke Chenin Blanc, SA

Arguably the finest Chenin South Africa, with honey, tropical fruits and a creamy palate. Partner this with creamy cheese or shellfish for a sublime match.

Majestic £24.99 or £18.73 mixed 6