What’s in My Glass? Viognier

This week’s tour around the budget wines table at Nini’s Wine Cellar in Williamsburg provided a new grape experience for me in the form of Viognier–one of the world’s longest-cultivated grapes, which survived near extinction and is on the up once again across the globe.

This late-ripening white grape is tough to grow and made a name for itself in the Rhône region of France beginning with the Romans and nearly ending in the 1960s when its persnickety nature and high prices made winemakers practically abandon the grape.

Similar to (but more foruntate than) over-sized flannel coming back into style, Viognier has sprung from its low point and is now sprouting up everywhere from Argentina to Washington State.

Known for its floral, white peach aromas, rich fruit flavors and good body, Viognier isn’t a super-acidic a racy “wow this is so light and fresh” type of wine. Instead, its one whose intense aromas and flavors linger like a long flirty stares.

My bargain bottle was Punta Pays 2011 Viognier from Mendoza,  Argentina.  Strong aromas of white flowers and orange fruit teased my nose, and were followed by ripe, fresh fruit flavors of apricot and peach. (Think: An orchard where peaches and apricots are so ripe and sweet they’re falling off the branches)

Viognier’s a great pair for spicy foods, so I sipped this one alongside a vegetarian curry.  Apple flavors from the vino helped balance the spice–along with helping me forget how much butter is in your typical curry gravy.  Overall, a fabulous combo.

Viognier Uncorked:

Laura Loves: This article on Viognier and how lovely it can be.

Viognier with soft cheeses like fresh goat cheese or Brie.

Fun Facts: In 1965, there were only 8 acres left of Viognier in the world.

In France, Viognier is often blended with Syrah.

Pronunciation: VEE-OWN-YAY



  • January 18, 2013
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