A wine recommendation

June 17, 2021 • 2:30 pm

I don’t have much to say today, but at least I can offer you a wine recommendation: a bottle that I’ve had in multiple vintages and have always loved. It’s this one:

I haven’t tried the 2020 version of the Pine Ridge Chenin blanc/Viognier yet, but I see it advertised by my wine store for $11 a bottle, which is pretty much what you should pay for it.  It’s a California blend of two grapes that are rarely combined, one of which, viognier, can be a classic, world-class white (as in Château-Grillet). The viognier here isn’t of that quality, but the blend of the two grapes is luscious, a tad lemony and melon-y, and a bit off dry, which is good because it means you can drink this with nearly everything but heavy red meat. It will pair well with Chinese food and spicy food. It’s the perfect summer white, one of the best wine values I’ve ever found, and if you can find it for under $12 a bottle, you should buy a case.

It’s not a wine for keeping, so get the latest vintage and drink it within a year or two. This used to be my house white during the summer, and I look forward to replenishing my supply now that the pandemic is over.

If you aren’t sure, try a bottle before you consider buying a case. Then store several bottles in the fridge to crack (there’s a convenient screw top) when the mood strikes.

15 thoughts on “A wine recommendation

  1. I would agree that Chenin Blanc is a great house wine. Don’t think they are in the business anymore but Inglenook Chenin Blanc was mine for years.

  2. Will definitely try this…I like super-dry whites but am always on the lookout of a good summer beach wine.

      1. These differences are the result of winemaking practice almost exclusively. Varietal has little to do with it (though the traditional vinification of various varietals (e.g. Chardonnay as White Burgundy) often influences winemakers and becomes a sort of signature of the varietal.)

  3. Good choice! We have always found this to be a reliable white. It’s available at Trader Joe’s (at least ours in Southern California). However, it used to be under $10, and that’s pretty much my price point for daily quaffing, and so…

    A good maker of Viogniers is Yalumba from down under. Have not had a bad one from them.

    Finally, I saw a 2019 Austin Hope Cab at Costco today. Not the 2018 (which was mentioned on the Costco label as a 95-pointer), but presumably wonderful as well. However, with a price of $45.99, I passed it by…

    1. I picked up a bottle of the Austin Hope Cabernet Sauvignon Paso Robles last weekend. It’s one of only 2 or 3 of Jerry’s recommendations that I’ve found available near me. I normally don’t spend this much on a bottle of wine, but given Jerry’s praise of it I decided I had to try it.

      1. You will likely be pleased. I don’t know that wine; but I have had many excellent cab-based wines from CA. (I mainly know and drink French and Italian wine.)

        1. Generally speaking I like California cabs. I’ve had many that I thought were very good, but I am not particularly knowledgeable about wines. But if this is a contender for the best California cab, it must be good because I’ve had some amazing ones already.

          I have also had some wonderful French, Italian, Spanish, German, Chilean and Argentinian wines. On German wines I much prefer Mosel over Rhine. If I had to pick a favorite in the white wine category it would be Mosel whites, particularly Rieslings and some Riesling crosses.

  4. Oooh, thanks for the recommendation! I just recently started drinking more white wine and specifically a cheap brand’s Viogniers at Trader Joe’s—Honeymoon. It’s very tasty, but this is clearly (if only by price) a step up that I’ll have to try.

  5. As you note, these varietals are rarely blended (at least openly, on the label).
    They come from opposite ends of France: Chenin Blanc (Loire valley) and Viognier (Rhone valley).

    But why not try things?

  6. The apotheosis of Chenin Blanc is a good AOC Vouvray. I can recommend the maker Champalou.

    The name Vouvray has been brought into ill repute (in the USA anyway) by its misapplication on undistinguished generic California white wines.

  7. Good grief, it’s $27 per bottle here in BC where you can find it. Yikes.

    I’ve had some Viogniers that were sublime, and some that were just ok. Seems like a more hit-and-miss variety than many other whites, but it’s probably my favourite white when it’s done well.

    1. Indeed. I avoid viogniers unless they’re recommended by someone I trust. When they are at their best they are incomparable, but the best ones are not only hard to find, but very expensive.

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