Guide to Viognier Wine
Viognier has recently increased in popularity among consumers. Most known as the principle white grape variety in the northern Rhône, Viognier is capable of producing extraordinary wines with peachy aromas. On the palate, there are dry, luscious flavors of tree fruit, nuttiness and undertones of spice. At its best, it is lush and rich with amazing complexity and a wonderful alternative to Chardonnay. Exceptional Viognier is also produced in Washington State and in the southern Rhône. Food: Regions:
- Floral, Peach, Apricots, Apple
- Peach, Apricot, Apple, Nutty
- Dry and medium-bodied with loads of fruit flavors
- White meats, freshwater fish and mild cheese
- France – Northern Rhône – Condrieu
- Southern Rhône – Côtes du Rhône, Costières de Nîmes
- Washington State – Yakima and Columbia Valley
- California – Santa Barbara, Monterey
Viognier was close to extinction as a grape variety with fewer than 100 acres, all planted in the shrinking appellation of Condrieu. Viognier has now staged a dramatic comeback thanks to the Rhône Rangers of California, who through extensive research have discovered certain areas of California where popular Rhône varietals would flourish, including Viognier. This trend boomeranged back to France were thousands of acres of Viognier are now being planted in the south, where it has proven to be very successful.
Viognier is a close cousin to Gewürztraminer, and like the spicy grape, is very aromatic, though rarely as rich in body. Inexpensive Viognier offers soft fruit flavors and a nice alluring bouquet. The higher tier, such as the Viognier produced in Condrieu offers unbelievable richness, density and complexity with powerful fruit flavors. One thing is certain, all Viognier is best when consumed young; most are not ageworthy.