Tag Archives: Condrieu

Grape of the Week: Viognier


Viogner, UC Davis

I know we’re past Valentine’s Day now, but why not give it a long finish and take a look at this very exotic, sexy grape.

Sexy? Absolutely. Sensual? Oh, yeah…

What to expect
If you haven’t gotten around to trying Viognier, please let me encourage you to take the plunge and dive into what Jancis Robinson has referred to as “The hedonist’s white wine.”

This is one big, voluptuous kiss of ripe peaches and apricots, orange blossom, tropical fruit and honeysuckle. And heady, too. Viognier won’t let loose with all those wonderful aromatics unless it’s plenty ripe, so it’s quite common for it to be upwards of 14% alcohol. Of course, the alcohol gives it considerable heft, by white-wine standards so when you’re feeling burnt out on Chardonnay you can easily substitute the highly perfumed Viognier.

I’ve learned the hard way that It isn’t easy to get it right. Poorly made, it can remind you of the syrup in the can of fruit cocktail your Mom served you when you were a kid (I suppose I’m dating myself here.)

It’s usually dry but occasionally you’ll find a sweet one. Not my cup of tea – the sweetness can be cloying – Viognier isn’t a high-acid grape.  Some examples have oak imposed on them, which is hard to understand for a grape with so much up-front charm. If there’s a chance to taste before you buy, go for it! Continue reading

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