Sunday, May 18, 2008

wow - unAmerican white?

Pine Ridge makes this crisp delicious dry white using 80% chenin blanc and the rest viognier. Now do you ever see such a wine on a menu or at a tasting? You would in France and certainly would in South Africa where, sometimes called "steen", chenin blanc is one of the most widely consumed wines. Stateside, however, chenin blanc has a bad rap as something that should come in a big green jug. All because the grape was never raised carefully for flavor but was instead turned into a workhorse of Central Valley California bulk wine where it flourishes but becomes unremarkable. At probably its most lofty form, French Vouvray can be $100 a bottle chenin blanc that can age well for decades. This much more humble Pine Ridge ages just fine on the front seat of the car on the way home from Whole Foods where I picked it up for $9. As Texas winegrowers search for grapes to grow that fit our hot climate, they would do well to consider this high-acid grape that can produce great refreshing wines ranging from dry to sweet.

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