Tag Archives: cheap wine

Wine of the week: Pine Ridge Chenin Blanc + Viognier 2014


Pine Ridge chenin blanc viognierHow impressive is this California white wine blend? For one thing, it has its own website, and how many $10 wines can say that? For another, some retailers — who apparently have no shame — charge as much as $15 for it. Is it any wonder the Wine Curmudgeon is so curmudgeonly?

The other thing you need to know about the Pine Ridge chenin blanc viognier ($10, purchased, 12.5%)? That it is, as always, one of the great cheap wines ever made, combining the qualities of each grape to produce something greater than the whole. Given how much stupid label, fake oak, sort of sweet cheap white wine gets foisted off on us, this is a revelation. And that it’s made with two grapes that don’t get much respect makes the Pine Ridge chenin blanc viognier that much more interesting.

In addition, the Pine Ridge chenin blanc viognier is different each vintage, something that also rarely happens with cheap wine. The 2014 has less citrusy sauvignon blanc character than the 2013 (something you can get from chenin blanc), with more steely chenin minerality and a dollop of white fruit (peach?) from the viognier, as well as an almost floral aroma.

Drink this chilled on its own, or with any end of the summer dinner. It’s a fried seafood wine, too — clam rolls, anyone? Highly recommended, and sure to take its place again in next year’s $10 Hall of Fame.


Wine and food pairings: One chicken, five dinners, five wines

wine and food pairings

Charts? We don’t need no stinking charts for wine and food pairings.

Wine drinkers can get so hung up on wine and food pairings that it’s almost paralytic, so that we drink water or iced tea instead of figuring out which wine to pair with which food. Which, of course, defeats the purpose of enjoying wine.

Because wine and food pairings shouldn’t be that difficult. Wine is about making dinner enjoyable, not taking an exam to become a master of wine. Hence, these recent wine and food pairings, as the Wine Curmudgeon “roasted” a chicken in a slow cooker (it was close to 100 in Dallas, and too hot to turn on the oven), and how I paired $10 wine with five dinners made with the chicken. More, after the jump:

Wine of the week: Domaine du Tariquet Classic 2014


Domaine du Tariquet ClassicWhat’s left to say about the Domaine du Tariquet Classic, the Gascon white blend that may be the greatest cheap wine in the world? How about that it tastes even more complex this year?

I know, I know. Hard to believe for a $10 wine made in southwestern France with colombard and ugni blanc (plus sauvignon blanc and gros manseng this year), none of which are on the Winestream Media’s hit parade. But there it is. This vintage of the Domaine du Tariquet Classic ($10, purchased, 10.5%) has the usual white grapiness and a hint of citrus (less than the last couple of years), but it’s also practically savory on the back. This makes the wine more subtle, something it has never really been before. That a $10 wine made with such ordinary grapes can have such a significant vintage difference speaks to how amazing the Tariquet is.

How much do consumers appreciate this wine? There was a huge floor stack at the Dallas retailer where I bought six bottles a couple of weeks ago, and when I went back the next week, the stack was half the size. So, yes, highly recommended and a permanent member of the $10 Hall of Fame.

Chill this and drink on its own or with almost any weeknight dinner (or weekend dinner, because it’s that well made and your guests will be impressed with your good taste). One note: Give it a couple of minutes after you open the screwcap for the wine to breathe and for the flavors to come together.

More about Domaine du Tariquet:
Wine of the week: Domaine Tariquet Classic 2013 (the sonnet review)
Wine of the week: Domaine Tariquet Classic 2011
Wine of the week: Domaine Tariquet Rose

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