Winemaker: Pine Ridge
Wine: Pine Ridge Chenin Blanc + Viognier, 2010, California
Tasting Notes: You may not know this about me, but I deeply love Rhone varietals. Though Cabernets and Chardonnays may capture most of the world’s attention, I am drawn to all things Rhone. Be it Roussanne, Marsanne, Carignan, Mourvedre, Grenache, or Syrah – I’ll take them all. These grapes, while obviously originating in the Rhone valley in France, grow exceptionally well in many parts of California as well, due to similar climate and soil conditions. Today I’ll introduce you to Viognier, by way of the Chenin Blanc (a Loire grape, but we won’t hold that against it). This lovely blend uses the fruity, floral, and lush nature of Viognier to balance out the bright acidity of the Chenin Blanc. You’ll get notes of pear and green apple from the Chenin Blanc (79%), while the aromas and mouthfeel are rounded out significantly by the peach and floral notes of the Viognier (21%). It’s simply a delight for summer drinking.
Meal Plan: Summer salad with raspberries, almonds, and a simple vinaigrette
The fruit and flowers in this wine’s aroma scream summer to me, so I’ve gone light and simple here while highlighting seasonal raspberries. Serve as a side for dinner, or make a large batch for lunch on a warm day.
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Fresh ground black pepper
This is the easiest, most reliable vinaigrette recipe I know. You can adjust it if you like, by trying new mustards or different types of vinegar, but as long as the ratios stay the same (1 part mustard, 1 part vinegar, 2 parts olive oil) you’ll be set. Combine all the ingredients into a sealed container (I like mason jars, but will usually end up grabbing a coffee thermos), and shake vigorously. Pour over prepared mixed baby greens, raspberries, and slivered almonds, then serve. Or, honestly, use whatever’s in season and looking fabulous at the market. The vinaigrette is very versatile and will give you the flavor and acidity you need to brighten up any good salad.