Sunday, March 9, 2014

California's Greatest Everyday White? Pine Ridge Chenin Blanc/Viognier 2012

Pine Ridge Vineyards is one of those vaunted Napa Wineries that has done so much so right since it's founding in 1978. They're certainly best known for their Cabernet Sauvignon bottlings, which have always been made in a style that chooses elegance and grace over power. I was fortunate to have a few bottles of their 1994 Stag's Leap Cab, the last of which I only recently drank. They were delicious wines.

But the only wine that Pine Ridge produces in the under $15 category is a wonderful little white wine that almost nobody knows about. It's an absolutely delicious blend of 80% Chenin Blanc and 20% Viognier. In retail shops here on the east coast, it sits in the section usually called "other whites". It's a section that sees few visitors as most shoppers head right for the Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc sections. And even the folks that visit this section rarely give this wine a shot. It's a lonely bottle for sure.

I certainly can't claim the discovery either. Major critics like Robert Parker have been trumpeting the virtues of this great little wine for a decade or more - but you always had to pay for his advice.

This lovely white is very aromatic with up front scents of ripe pear, melon and a tropical note of mango. It's got a fairly lush medium-bodied mouth feel with the pear and melon flavors supported by notes of orange peel and lime. It finishes long with zesty acidity that makes it very crisp and refreshing. This fantastic everyday white is vinified in stainless steel and sees no wood whatsoever. And at $10.99, it's an excellent value. I tasted the 2012 but I would not be concerned with vintage - this wine is delicious year after year. We served this wonderful wine with some grilled chicken wings that I marinated in peanut oil, soy sauce, lime juice, Chinese 5 spice powder and chili. Bottoms up!


  1. Jonas, this is one of my "go-to-whites" and has been for quite a few years! nice write up and on point!

  2. Thank you Steven - It's certainly one of mine also! When I moonlight in my local store around holiday time and I put one of these in someone's hand, they almost always come back for more.