Wine pair for grilled pork chops with bourbon glaze

Last weekend we tasted the perfect white wine to accompany Ann Vogel’s rosemary bourbon glazed grilled pork chops with nectarines.

We were along the Bremerton waterfront at the Kitsap Wine Festival. One of Brynn’s favorite wineries — Kiona Vineyards and Winery — was again at the event, this year pouring three wines.

It was Kiona’s 2011 Chenin Blanc that caught our attention. As the founders of Red Mountain, an American Viticultural Area just outside of Yakima, Kiona’s vineyards have been around for more than 30 years. The family-run winery has been making chenin blanc for 31 vintages, according to sales manager JJ Williams. (Williams is the grandson of John Williams, who with Jim Holmes pioneered and planted Red Mountain in 1975).

The wine has a slight frizzante — a tingle on the tip of your tongue — that is followed by a tartness on the finish. As Williams described the wine Sunday “it’s lemonade for adults.”

While there’s a hint of sweetness to the wine, the crisp, tart finish balances out the initial sweet notes, making this a great accompaniment to the fruit-forward glaze on the pork chops.

Some have said chenin blanc, which is believed to have originated in France’s Loire Valley, is France’s answer to Germany’s Riesling. The grape is versatile and can be used to make everything from a stand-alone chenin blanc or a sparkling wine to a dessert wine.

Like most wines, a lot of how the Chenin grape tastes once in the bottle depends on the climate where it was planted, when it was harvested and the winemaking techniques used.

If left on the vine to rot — this is a good thing — it can make a delicious dessert wine where the sugars are balanced by the grape’s high acidity. But if harvested in too large of quantity, the grape’s aromatic and floral characteristics are lost and the wine becomes blasé.

Chenin blanc grows well in Washington, and Kiona has done a great job of capturing its acidity, which translates to tart green apple flavors. Serve it chilled to bring out its tropical fruit flavors, which will pair nicely with the grilled nectarines.

This wine retails for $15.