Cheap Wine That Doesn't Suck: Pine Ridge 2008 Chenin Blanc-Viognier

"The best" is one of those designations fraught with peril as well as slightly ridiculous. Is LeBron James "better" than Dwyane Wade, Picasso "better" than Joan Miro, John Coltrane "better" than Charlie Parker? I don't want to have to make those calls. 

So I won't say Pine Ridge's perpetually superlative blend of Chenin Blanc and Viognier is "the best" cheap wine that doesn't suck I've ever tasted, but it's certainly one of them. And it's even more certainly my personal favorite.  

Combine the seductive earthiness and bracing citrus acidity of Chenin Blanc (81 percent) with the beguiling floral, tropical, and ripe melon notes of Viognier (19 percent) and you've got a marriage made in, if not heaven, at least the Napa Valley. And at $12 a bottle, it's the cheapest marriage you'll ever be involved in, with no possibility of wanting a divorce.

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Bill Citara