The Pine Ridge Chenin Blanc Viognier 2020 is 80% Chenin Blanc and 20% Viognier. The Chenin Blanc is sourced from ten plots in contracted growers in the Clarksburg AVA; the Viognier uses vineyards in the Lodi AVA. Both Clarksburg and Lodi are situated inside the greater Central Valley AVA. The bulk of California wines come from the Central Coast AVA or the North Coast AVA; these are the two main exceptions.
Both of these grape growing AVAs are more inland than most wine regions, and the reason they have the climate to produce wine grapes on a large scale is the Delta valleys and rivers coming east from the San Pablo Bay. Clarksburg is, on average several degrees cooler than Napa Valley and Lodi has a Mediterranean climate.
The grape blend of the Pine Ridge Chenin Blanc Viognier 2020, while incorporating two French grapes, is a blend that is not found in France. Pine Ridge is a winery headquartered in the Staggs Leap district of Napa Valley, and they produce high-end wines; this is their more affordable but exciting White wine project.
Chenin Blanc originated in the Loire Valley of France, but South Africa has surpassed France as the primary source for Chenin Blanc wines. Chenin is a very versatile grape; it makes excellent Sparkling wine and can be produced in various styles, from heavily oaked to unoaked. Chenin Blanc can do what Chardonnay does and do it well, but it is nowhere near the popularity of Chardonnay.
While Chenin Blanc is from the West side of France, Viognier is from the southeast. Viognier wines have a very floral nose and bright, balanced acidity. It can be used as a single varietal wine or as an important blending grape. It is also one of the few White grapes added to Red wine blends, it adds a beautiful scent, and the acidity gives red wine a boost.
Wine drinkers know what to expect when buying a bottle of California Chardonnay, winemakers will make it in an identifiable style, but Chenin Blanc does not have an identity. If you find a bottle of Chenin Blanc that catches your attention, it is a good idea to take a quick picture of the label since another producer may off a very different wine.
The Pine Ridge Chenin Blanc Viognier 2020 is a lower alcohol wine, 11.7%, rare with ripe California wines where 13.5% alcohol is the average. The technical notes go into great detail concerning wine production; there is information on the Brix at which the grapes were picked (Brix is the amount of sugar in the grape) and the types of yeast used in fermentation. This wine was fermented and aged in stainless steel tanks.
The Pine Ridge Chenin Blanc Viognier 2020 is a blend of grape juice from the pressing procedure and free-run juice. Free-run juice comes from the weight of the grapes in the hopper before they are pressed to release their juice. Free-run juice is considered the highest quality grape juice; some high-end wines only use free-range juice.
The Pine Ridge Chenin Blanc Viognier 2020 is a value-priced wine; I found it for $11.99, the list price is $16, but it is a unique wine with a great deal of care and attention to detail. Chenin Blanc wines should be more widespread; Chenin Blanc grape can make great, delicious wine.
Pine Ridge Chenin Blanc Viognier 2020 Tasting Notes
The color is a pale wheat yellow. The nose is a delicate blend of fresh fruit and citrus from a midwestern farmstand and tropical fruit, along with a pretty floral edge. The Pine Ridge Chenin Blanc Viognier 2020 has a firm mouthfeel, and is sleek, and is a delicious wine.
It shows a blend of peach, tart apple, and pink grapefruit; there is unsweetened pineapple, apricot, melon, and a salty, nutty sensation. The mid-palate adds juicy, ripe pear, nectarine, and lime. The acidity sets your palate up for the next sip.
- The Pine Ridge Chenin Blanc Viognier 2020 tastes excellent.
- This is a well-made wine made with a delicate touch, the acidity is right in the pocket.
- The Clarksburg AVA has a growing reputation as one of the premier Chen Blanc growing regions in the world.
- Grab a bottle of the Pine Ridge Chenin Blanc Viognier 2020 before the word gets out and prices go up.