HIGHLY RECOMMENDED: Pine Ridge 2010 Chenin Blanc + Viognier (79% Chenin Blanc, 21% Viognier), California. 13% ABV. $13.99; available for as little as $8.99.

Three of us enjoyed this delightful wine that is both delicious and way off the beaten path. Opened at 51°, it was intensely aromatic and flavorful, although the flavor didn’t quite match the nose. That’s okay—it just made the wine more interesting. A wine that tastes good AND makes you think—now that’s my kind of cuppa!This was the first of four wines we tasted during an “online tasting.” It was the only one of the four Pine Ridge wines that fit within our price parameters, so we’re reviewing it solo—but in my next post, I’ll describe the tasting and how it worked, as well as describe the other three wines.Please forgive me for using the word “interesting” so often in this piece, but it really was an I-word event. Anyhow …

APPEARANCE: Very light straw color, almost clear.
NOSE: Similar to Sauvignon Blanc; grapefruit and lemon. Gravel, pears, apricots, cantaloupe.
TASTE: Slightly frizzante. Melon, green, crisp and acidic, almost tart, a little lemon and tangerine, honeysuckle. Off-sweet and reminiscent of one of the many types of good Rieslings.
MOUTHFEEL: The significant percentage of Viognier added a silky, buttery, creamy texture and weight which I loved. An interesting (there’s that word again) contrast from the frizzante first impressions.
FINISH: Lasting sweetness. Another unexpected contrast from the almost tart taste.
CLOSURE: Screwcap.

LABEL NOTES: Our distinctive blend, first created here at Pine Ridge Vineyards in 1979, marries the crisp apple, pear and citrus fruit of Chenin Blanc (79%) with the rich peach, lemon and honeysuckle flavors of Viognier (21%) for a lush and delicious wine. Pair this versatile bottling with fresh salads, seafood and spicy dishes for a delectable meal or savor on its own.

I wouldn’t mind pairing this with Tom Ka Gai soup or some other spicy/savory/sweet fare.

Established in 1978, Pine Ridge Vineyards founder Gary Andrus was “inspired by the illustrious wines of Bordeaux [and] believed in the Napa Valley’s potential to produce wines of similar stature. He planted the property’s original namesake vineyard on a steeply terraced hillside flanked by a dramatic ridgeline of pine trees in the Stags Leap District. Gary’s pioneering efforts with this first vineyard were met with tremendous success as the Bordeaux varietals he planted—Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Malbec, Petit Verdot—thrived and produced wines of great distinction. In the following years, Pine Ridge continued to acquire exceptional vineyard sites across the region. Today, the Estate’s 200-acres span five renowned Napa Valley appellations—Stags Leap District, Rutherford, Oakville, Carneros and Howell Mountain.” Their property even includes a mile-long system of caves in which they age and store some of their wines.

However, the winemakers aren’t afraid to source their grapes from elsewhere. The Chenin Blanc grapes came from Clarksburg, and the Viognier from Lodi.

“In the early 1990s, Pine Ridge crafted this unusual and delectable blend as an experimental bottling, creating one of our most beloved and popular wines. This unique marriage of two varietals that would never share the same bottle in their native France unites the crisp, honeyed fruit of Chenin Blanc with the plush body and juicy stone fruit notes of Viognier, for a wine that is both sophisticated and easy to enjoy. Chenin Blanc has long been the core of this blend and is sourced from the Clarksburg appellation nestled in the Sacramento River Delta. The grapes were harvested at low sugar levels to ensure a bright fruit character and low alcohol in the finished wine. In contrast, the Viognier from Lodi was picked at 24 degrees Brix to capture the floral and spicy nature as well as the viscosity of this grape. After crushing and blending the press wine with free run juice to increase palate weight, the juice was inoculated with two special yeast strains selected to maintain the fruity characters and then fermented cold. The wine was bottled without any oak influence to retain the vibrant and refreshing profile.”

WEB: www.PineRidgeVineyards.com

Sample received for review.

This entry was posted in California, Chenin Blanc, Viognier, White Blend. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to HIGHLY RECOMMENDED: Pine Ridge 2010 Chenin Blanc + Viognier (79% Chenin Blanc, 21% Viognier), California. 13% ABV. $13.99; available for as little as $8.99.

  1. L. Turbeville says:

    I live in Fl… Where to buy?

  2. You can buy it at Total Wine stores, or the Decanted store in Naples. A good search engine is http://www.wine-searcher.com. :-)

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