Pine Ridge Clarksburg Chenin Blanc Viognier 2020  £20.95

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Pine Ridge Clarksburg Chenin Blanc Viognier

This 80-hectare estate was founded in 1978 when Gary Andrus planted the property's original vineyard in Stags Leap on a terraced hillside flanked by a ridge of pine trees. They now have vineyards across five sub-zones in Napa: four in the Stags Leap District, three in Rutherford, three in Carneros and one each in Howell Mountain and Oakville. This diversity gives winemaker Michael Beaulac many different blending options from which to choose each year, the results of which can be seen in the stunningly high quality of the wines they produce.

The Chenin Blanc comes from the Clarksburg appellation, referred to as the “Gem of the Delta”, which is over in the Sacramento river delta. This means that it is fairly warm with an almost constant breeze which helps to retain freshness and acidity in the grapes. The soils tend to be deep clay with excellent water holding capacity. The trellising is a bi-lateral cordon. The viognier is sourced from Lodi, which has a classic Mediterranean climate, with warm days and cool nights. The San Joaquin/Sacramento River delta provides cooling breezes.

2019 was an average year in the delta with spring rains resulting in a small crop load. This was followed by a warm summer without any major heat spikes. This allowed for a slow, even ripening throughout the season with good flavour development.

The grapes were destemmed and crushed upon arrival at the winery. The free-run juice was combined with the press fraction to increase mouthfeel. Two different types of yeast were used to add complexity and aromatics. Fermentation took place at a cool temperature of 13ºC. The wine was aged in stainless steel tanks without malolactic fermentation in order to retain the pure varietal fruit character in the final wine.

Crisp, bright and lively, this wine boasts a bouquet of pink grapefruit, orange blossom, honeysuckle, and jasmine. On the palate, there are ripe fruit flavours of tangerine, green apple, white peach and lime curd alongside more herbal notes of lemongrass and ginger. It is medium-bodied, with refreshing acidity and a hint of minerality on the long, round finish.

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