Once teetering on the brink of obscurity, this white wine grape variety has not only made a resurgence but has also captivated the palates of wine lovers worldwide. It’s the kind of comeback story that even Rocky Balboa would applaud.
So, let’s go beyond Chardonnay in the whites and explore some Viognier…
The Past and Present
By the 1960s, Viognier’s presence was fading, with only a few acres remaining in the Northern Rhône. Yet, against all odds, it made a triumphant comeback. Today, it thrives in various corners of the world, including California, Virginia, and Australia. In France, it expands its reach within the Rhône Valley and further west into Southern France. Its journey from near-extinction to global prominence is a testament to its unique qualities.
What is Viognier Wine?
Derived from the grape variety named Viognier, Viognier Wine boasts an intriguing history. In the Northern Rhône, it often hides behind the names of appellations like Condrieu and Château-Grillet. The latter, a single producer, lends its name to an entire appellation.
Interestingly, Viognier collaborates with the red grape Syrah in Côte-Rôtie, where it can constitute up to 20% of blends, although it usually plays a supporting role to Syrah’s brilliance.
Viognier exudes notes of stone fruit, from apricot to nectarine, often accompanied by hints of citrus oil. A touch of honeyed sweetness graces its profile, amplified in sweeter renditions like late-harvest Viognier.
As it matures, nutty nuances may emerge. Blended with other grapes, like Roussanne and Grenache Blanc, it adds a savory layer to the palate.
Viognier is an enigma that appeals to various preferences. Its ability to traverse the spectrum from lively to creamy allows producers to craft wines that mirror both the terroir and their vision. Oak aging further broadens its horizon that often entices Chardonnay enthusiasts.
Pairing Viognier with food requires finesse, honoring its floral notes and medium acidity. From roasted chicken to seafood delights like lobster and shrimp, Viognier’s subtle bitterness harmonizes beautifully.
Cheeses like Gruyere and herbaceous spices like tarragon find companionship in this wine.
Dishes that balance fruit flavors and creaminess, like chicken tagine with apricots and almonds, elevate the Viognier experience.
Alcohol by volume (ABV) of Viognier ranges from 13.5% to 15%, impacting the wine’s overall taste.
Lighter Viogniers around 14% ABV offer a leaner profile, while higher ABV styles provide a richer, bolder character.
Additionally, pay attention to the winemaker’s choice of oak aging. New oak imparts creaminess and spice, while neutral or stainless-steel aging highlights floral and tropical notes.
As you explore white wines, don’t miss the chance to discover the elegance of Viognier. This white wine, with its roots in history and branches reaching across the globe, promises a journey of flavors and aromas that will leave an indelible mark on your wine-loving heart.
Explore the wide variety of Viognier at Benchmark Wines, all the way from reputed family-owned vineries and get $30 OFF on your first offer.
Cheers to uncorking a world of wine wonder!🥂
Further reading: Grenache Wine: Say Hi to the Sun-kissed