In 1978 , a remarkable vineyard took shape alongside a deep pine
forest that climbs the western hillside of Napa Valley’s storied
Stags Leap District. Today, nestled in a small valley along the
Silverado Trail, the carefully maintained and terraced slopes
of Pine Ridge Vineyards blend gracefully with the natural rise
and fall of the land. Year after year, the wines of Pine Ridge
carry a sense of this place and its history. Continuity, balance
and meticulous craftsmanship are inherent in the wines and
deeply embedded in the winery's heritage. Each vintage reflects
the distinct characteristics of the appellation and a focused
commitment to refinement that reaches across the years, from
the founding of the winery to today.
Learn More About Chenin Blanc
Chenin Blanc (SHEN-uhn Blahnk) Model of Versatility
The best representation of the Chenin Blanc grape can be found in the
Valley of France - more specifically, the regions of Vouvray, Savennieres,
Anjou and Samur. The versatility of the grape allows it to produce wines both
dry and sweet, still and sparkling - and you can find all examples in the Loire.
It's found in South
Africa as well, where it's called Steen and is typically made in the dry
style. It used to be a popular grape in California,
but it's late-ripening and
the warm weather promoted over-cropping and the wine produced a neutral and bland product for many producers.
Luckily, some California producers are fostering the grape for a comeback.
Soils are often the defining factor of a Chenin style. In the Loire, the heavier,
clay-based soils are best for fostering late ripening, sweet Chenin Blanc -
the chalky, more limestone-based soils are responsible for many of the lighter,
crisper styles of the grape. Sweet Chenin Blanc is sometimes affected by botrytis,
the mold that creates the sweet wines of Sauternes. These wines are long lasting
and like honey and nectar on the palate. The dry style of Chenin Blanc is a crisp, refreshing wine with citrus flavors
offset by an almost creamy texture. Good Chenin Blancs are delightful wines, versatile with a wide
range of food depending on their sweetness level.
Summing it up
Successful Sites: Loire Valley, South Africa, some California
Common Descriptors: honey, damp straw, green apple, floral, mineral
Learn More About Napa Valley, California
It's hard not to think of Napa Valley when thinking of California wines. The region is, after all, the one that brought world recognition to California wine making. The area was settled by a few choice wine families in the 1960's who bet that the wines of the area would grow and flourish. They were right. The Napa wine industry really took off in the 1980's, when vineyard lands were scooped up and vines were planted throughout the county. A number of wineries emerged, from large conglomerates to small boutiques to cult classics. Cabernet Sauvignon is definitely the grape of choice here, with many winemakers also focusing on Bordeaux Blends. Whites are usually Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.
Within the Napa Valley lie smaller sub-AVAs that lend even more character specifics to the wines. Furthest south is Carneros, followed by Yountville, Oakville & Rutherford. Above those two is St.-Helena and finally, just grated an AVA, Calistoga. These areas are situated on the valley floor and are known for creating rich, smooth Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Chardonnay. There are a few mountain regions as well, nestled on the slopes overlooking the valley AVAs. Those include Howell Mountain, Stags Leap and Mount Veeder. Wines from the mountain regions are often more structured and firm, benefiting from more time in the bottle to evolve and soften.