CB+V and Zin. Star Wines from the Sunshine State.
Pine Ridge Chenin Blanc + Viognier White Blend (California) 2016, 12.5%, €24.99
JJ O’Driscolls, Ballinlough, Baggot Street Wines, Terroirs, La Touche Wines, Greystones, Martins Off Licence, www.wineonline.ie
You’ll see CB+V on top of the screw cap and you’ll be wondering. The label will soon make it clear. This is a distinctive white blend of Chenin Blanc (80%) and Viognier (20%). Quite a versatile wine as it turns out. Enjoy a glass on its own or try it alongside your favourite seafood or spicy dish.
Colour is a light to mid gold with tints of green. Aromatic, with blossom notes, citrus and tropical fruit. Lime and grapefruit among the flavours in the palate which is crisp and bright, with a slight mineral accent in there too, plus a balancing acidity taking it through to a gentle and refreshing finish.
The crisp fruit of the Chenin and the softer notes of the Viognier marry well here. A lush, versatile and delicious wine, and I feel no compulsion at all to argue with that. Highly Recommended.
The Chenin Blanc/Viognier is made from fruit grown in Clarksburg in the Sacramento river delta. The climate here is warm but there is an almost constant breeze, which helps to retain freshness and acidity in the grapes. Rhône varieties like Viognier adapt well in this exciting appellation.
By the way, Pine Ridge say the original blending was just an experiment. They are very happy with the result: “.. we tasted it and realized we had created a masterpiece. Together, they deliver a unique tapestry of flavors and aromas that are elegant and easy to enjoy.”
Seghesio Sonoma County Zinfandel 2015, 15%, €37.99
Thomas Woodberry’s, Galway; Jus de Vine, Portmarnock; Redmond of Ranelagh; Red Island Wine, Skerries; Lilac Wines, Fairview; The Corkscrew, Dublin 2; Power & Co Fine Wines, Lucan; www.wineonline.ie
In 1895, Italian emigrant Edoardo Seghesio planted his first Alexander Vineyard in California. Over 120 years later, though now part of the Crimson Wine Group, the family still farms 300 acres of Zin and Italian varietals in Dry Creek, Alexander and Russian River valleys. And their Zinfandels are regular winners in Decanter and International Wine Challenge.
Colour is a dark ruby. It is not all Zinfandel by the way as a “small amount of Petite Sirah is added to honour century old traditions”. It is aromatic, ripe red fruits, some from the garden, some from woods. A youthful juicy wine from old vines with a touch of spice among that melange of fruit. Big and bold and full to the brim with fruit, amazing concentration, yet the power is well harnessed and the balance spot-on, the finish long and satisfying. This is balanced, fresh, elegant and approachable - qualities not always noticeable in Zinfandel - this is Very Highly Recommended.