Wine review: Pine Ridge Chenin Blanc-Viognier 2011

In a perfect world, Americans would drink dry chenin blanc the way we drink Coke and Pepsi. Until then, we’ll have to settle for the Pine Ridge ($10, purchased, widely available). Which, actually, is not a bad thing at all.

This wine has long been one of my favorites, dating to the time I tasted it with some of Pine Ridge’s more famous and expensive reds. No one has to guess which wine I liked best, do they?

This year’s version of the Pine Ridge is about three-quarters chenin, and tastes drier than previous vintages, some of which tended toward sweet. In fact, the 2011 has a pleasing edge that I haven’t tasted before — perhaps the handiwork of winemaker Michael Beaulac, who made some very zippy white wines when he was at St. Supery. Look for more grapefruit up front than in years’ past, but with a very soft and delightful finish that shows off the viognier’s apricot.

Chill this, and drink it by itself as the temperatures get warmer (like today). Or pair it with spicy food, fresh summer salads, and even delicate fish. Highly recommended, and a candidate for the 2013 $10 Hall of Fame.


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