Red Figures:~In the Pines

The Farmers Insurance Open is at its traditional home, Torrey Pines in La Jolla, Calif., this week. Because it is a municipal course, each of its two courses is as accessible as they are stunning. In honor of this tournament, I thought we’d look at a wine of similar distinction, with a similar name.

Pine Ridge’s blend of Chenin Blanc and Viognier  is one of my favorite “go-to” whites. This wine is easy to pair, easy to drink and with a price point of under $15, it is indeed accessible.

Chenin Blanc originated in France and has spread to the New World, from California to South Africa. It is highly acidic and highly versatile. Depending on the climate and growing season, this grape can range from quite dry to sweet. It is used in sparkling wines, dessert wines and commonly used as a blending grape. On its own, the grape tends to have notes of green apple, green plum, mineral and floral notes.

Viognier is one of my favorite white grapes. The nose is unmistakable with honeysuckle and stone fruit. This grape is also commonly used in blending, with both white and red grapes. You will often see it added to soften the intensity of Syrah. In the Southern Rhone region, it is often added to Rousanne or Marsanne. In the Northern Region, you will find it with Chardonnay. This grape does very well in the Central Coast of California and in Texas.

So how do these two grapes work when blended together?  In this case, it works very well. There is acidity and green notes from the Chenin Blanc. The Viognier brings soft stone fruit and honey. It is bright and round, crisp and floral.

This wine is approachable enough to drink by itself, but it pairs well a number of ways. It has the acid to carry creamier dishes and the fruit to hold up to a little spice. It is also reasonable enough to sip on your porch on a Tuesday night and elegant enough to serve to guests on a weekend.

Whether you are in La Jolla enjoying the tournament or braving the chill in New England, you can have a taste of the Pines this weekend.