Once again I found myself perusing the wine aisles of Trader Joe’s looking for a the perfect pairing for a mi-week meal. I can honestly say I don’t know what made me pick this bottle up. Maybe it’s because I didn’t know quite what I wanted and the prospect of these two varietals blended together sounded summer-time perfect. Plus, I’ll admit, I’m a sucker for a good back-flap story synopsis (you know…the mini-story on the back of books… and…wine…).

About the Wine: Ok, so obviously this is a combination Chenin Blanc and Viognier, but what does that mean? Honestly it could mean anything, but the stereotype for both of these varietals lends to a massively fruit-forward expectation (at least in my head). But here’s the awesome thing about the winemakers at Pine Ridge, they picked each of the grapes used in this blend at the exact right time so as not to have too much of the same flavor in the bottle. Makes sense. Here’s what the winemakers have to say:

“The [Chenin Blanc] grapes were harvested at low sugar levels to ensure a bright fruit character and low alcohol in the finished wine. In contrast, the Viognier from Lodi was picked at 24 degrees Brix to capture the floral and spicy nature as well as the viscosity of this grape.”

The wine is made from 80% Chenin Blanc and 20% Viognere, 12.5% ABV

Flavor Profile: Ok, so I told you I’m a sucker for the description at the back of the bottle, right? But, honestly, how many times have you been fooled by that generic description? I know I have. The worst is when a wine label is so generic, it’s reused year after year as if the vintage doesn’t make a difference! But I digress…

This Chenin Blanc – Viognier blend is the best of both grapes in the bottle. On the nose, I was afraid that my expectations had been let down yet again and that the stereotypes reared their ugly scents once again — the nose is a bit overwhelmingly tropical. BUT, take a sip. Yes, there’s some ripe stone fruits (I’m thinking peaches or nectarines here) alongside some citrus (perhaps grapefruit or Meyer lemon), but it’s counter-balanced so well by the somewhat spicy kick of the cold-climate harvested Viognier. There’s not really an effervescence per se, but there’s a little something that leaves a tingle on the tongue, cutting through the fruit, and eliminating any notion of “sweet.” And yet, the mouthfeel is surprisingly smooth for the duration of the taste, ending in a clean, crisp, solid finish.

Food Pairing: I highly recommend this with a fresh and flavorsome seafood dish. Something casual and fun like fish or shrimp tacos (which is what I paired it with), fish and chips, or even a seafood salad. Of course, because of that aforementioned “little something” and the clean, crispy-ness left in the mouth, this wine is so refreshing, it could easily be enjoyed on its own.

More Info: Personally, I bought this bottle at Trader Joe’s ($10.99). For more information about Pine Ridge and their wines, please visit their website, where you can purchase wines directly. Honestly, I had such a great experience with this, I’m curious to try more.

Oh…right…I mentioned I was initially intrigued by the back label — and I was completely impressed by how true-to-taste it was! You read, you drink, you decide for yourself — and let me know what you think! Cheers!

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