Summer wine for spicy dishes
As the weather gets hotter, a nice summer wine to consider is the the 2013 Pine Ridge Chenin Blanc + Viognier, a great wine to sip in the sun.
Food pairing is with your favorite shell fish or spicy dishes, and later on I'll give you the chop239 food pairing.
You ask what is Chenin Blanc and Viogner? Chenin Blanc is a white wine grape that has very high acidity, although it can produce very bland neutral wines; blended it can offer sweeter juice. Viogner, like chardonnay, has the potential to produce full-bodied wines with a lush, soft character and has natural aromatics that include notes of peach, pears, violets and minerality.
These two grapes combine together with 80 percent Chenin Blanc and 20 percent, and Viogner Pine Ridge hits a home run with this blend.
Pine Ridge was established in 1978, and produces classically proportioned, expressive wines that embody their history and distinct place of origin. Pine Ridge founder Gary Andrus, inspired by the illustrious wines of Bordeaux, 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, Merlot, Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc + Viognier - thrived and produced wines of great distinction.
In the following years, Pine Ridge continued to acquire exceptional vineyards sites across the region. Today, the Estate's 200-acre span over five renowned Napa Valley appellations - Stags Leap District, Rutherford, Oakville, Carneros, and Howell Mountain. Poised, balanced and classically proportioned, the expressive wines born from there estate vineyards spanning the Napa valley reflect a distinctive Old World approach to winemaking coupled with a commitment to future sustainability and innovation.
The desire to uncover and showcase the exceptional qualities of the diverse estate vineyards that span 200-acres across five appellations, is the core of the Pine Ridge winemaking philosophy. A 30-year relationship with the land brings a deeply layered knowledge of the specific climates, soils and vines of each vineyard. Over the years, a deep knowledge and savoir-faire has developed of which rootstocks do best in each respective vineyard, specific block requirements to produce the most optimal fruit and what each vineyard contributes to the flavor profile of the wines.
The Chenin Blanc has long been the core of this blend, and is sourced from the Clarksburg appellation in the Sacramento River Delta. The grapes are harvested at low sugar levels to ensure a bright fruit character and low alcohol in the finished wine. In contrast, the Viognier from Lodi is 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 is inoculated with two special yeast strains selected to maintain the fruity characters and then fermented cold. The wine was bottled with out any oak influence to retain the vibrant and refreshing profile.
The 2013 Pine Ridge Chenin Blanc + Viogener is brilliant and refreshing, with a bursting array of delightful aromas, opening with fresh lemon, juicy honeydew melon, pomelo and sweet mango, complemented by soft orange blossom and carnation floral notes. The palate is crisp and mouth-watering, leading with luscious papaya, yellow pear and ruby grapefruit flavors that are balanced by hints of sweet tangerine and white tea.
The juicy fruit flavors linger through the clean and lively finish. This wine is on chop239 Winelist for $10 a glass and $40 a bottle and would pair up nicely with the chop239 appetizer, Prince Edward Island black mussels in a tomato sauce. The key is to ask for some red pepper flakes to make it spicy, and your palate won't be disappointed. Enjoy and Salute.
Marco Porto is owner of chop239 and is a wine connoisseur. Along with Laura Owen of CJ’s on the Bay and Adamo Serravalle of Marco Prime and DaVinci’s, he is a regular contributor to this column.