Wine Grape Cheat Sheets: Viognier
October 5, 2012 1 Comment
The Soundbyte: Viognier seemed literally an endangered variety only a few years ago, but is now recovering worldwide in terms of both both popularity and acreage. Viognier makes unique white wines that will bowl you over with a its outrageous floral aromas and peach-pear-apricot fruit flavors. While Viognier will beguile you with its gorgeous aroma and yellow-gold hue; make no mistake, this wine can pack a punch in terms of body, flavor, and alcohol…all in a great way, of course!
Typical Attributes of a Viognier-Based Wine:
- Intriguing Floral Bouquet combined with apricot, peach, and pear aromas.
- Tropical fruit flavors and a creamy mouthfeel.
- Even without oak aging, Viognier can be as full-bodied as an oaky Chardonnay.
- Deep golden color.
- Rich and intense in flavor, sometimes high in alcohol, although the overall richness makes the alcohol not very noticeable. Proceed with caution!
- Viognier is quite low in acid. This makes for a smooth, velvety palate…but it might be best not to pair this wine with high acid foods.
- I have had a few late-harvest dessert wines made from Viognier, and they are delicious!
Typical Aromas of a Viognier-Based Wine:
Fruity: Apricot, Over-ripe Apricot, Mango, Pineapple, Citrus, Apple, Pear, Peach
Floral: Honey, Acacia, Orange Blossom, Violet, Honeysuckle, Wildflowers
Spicy: Anise, Clove, Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Vanilla
Herbal: Mown Hay, Tobacco, Mint
- The Northern Rhône appellations of Condrieu and Chateau-Grillet produce amazing white wines from 100% Viognier.
- In the Southern Rhône and throughout the south of France, Viognier is often used to add fragrance and to soften and lighten the red G-S-M or Syrah-based wines of the Rhône. Even if you wouldn’t know it from looking at the label, a red Rhône or G-S-M blend can have up to 10% ov Viognier in the mix.
- California, particularly the warmer regions such as Lodi and the Sierra Foothills.
- The State of Virginia is beginning to make some excellent Viognier, and Texas makes some nice versions as well!
- Australia makes some excellent versions.
- Plantings in France’s Languedoc, Roussillon, and Provence regions are expanding.
Food Affinities – Base Ingredients:
- Pungent Cheeses
- Crab, Mussels, Shrimp, Salmon, Smoked Salmon
- Smoked Food, Poultry, Turkey, Pork
Food Affinities – Bridge Ingredients:
- Tropical Fruits, Pears, Apricot, Peach, Orange
- Curry, Ginger, Clove, Cinnamon
- Sweet Onions, Garlic, Coconut, Honey
- Herbs, Corn, Polenta, Walnuts, Hazelnuts
- Butter, Cream, Fresh Cheeses
Click here for a recipe for Chicken with Forty Cloves of Garlic – a “perfect pairing partner” recipe for Viognier.