Winemaker tastes with a wine's future in mind
Published: Wednesday, May 9, 2012 at 4:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, May 9, 2012 at 4:01 a.m.
What a rapport.
Chenin blanc and viognier make a striking couple and the twosome is behind our wine-of-the-week winner, the Pine Ridge, 2011 California, Chenin Blanc & Viognier at $14.
"The chenin blanc gives the racy acidity," winemaker Michael Beaulac said. "The viognier adds the floral notes and the weight to the wine."
Chenin blanc and viognier are an exotic treat to many.
"Few people know about these two varietals," Beaulac said. "Chenin blanc is from the Loire and goes into Vouvray, which is made in many different styles. The viognier is from the Rhone and is probably better known here. However, in the United States they oftentimes are masked with oak, which this wine never sees."
Beaulac said the blend is fun to make because the chenin blanc and the viognier are the first grapes to be harvested each year.
"It's still summer and warm and we're making a wine that's a perfect match for the summertime," he said.
The process of tasting their way to the perfect blend is also enjoyable, Beaulac said.
"As the wines are fermenting, our team is constantly tasting the juice and judging each tank," he said. "Once the fermentation is finished, we will already have a game plan together to be able to quickly blend the wine. We like to bottle in December following harvest, to make sure that we are able to capture the great freshness this wine has."
Beaulac said he's a good fit to make the bottling because he loves the wine and he has good instincts. What's key to making good wine, he said, is "the ability to predict where a grape or wine is going. To be able to taste a wine and know what it will taste like in a month, in a year and down the road."
Beaulac has been at Napa's Pine Ridge Vineyards for three years, and his credits include Healdsburg's Murphy-Goode and Napa Valley's Markham Vineyards and St. Supery Vineyards.
The wine is a great value and widely available.
"The wine is inexpensive, so a casual restaurant could have it on the list and a high-end restaurant would be able to show a completely unique wine to their guests," Beaulac said. "Of course, it should be in most grocery stores as well."521-5310 or email@example.com.
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