Viva la Viognier: A fresh start for an old white wine

August 23, 2012

I am completely convinced that even the most picky white wine drinker will scream in delight over this grape. It’s floral and fruity. It’s perfumey but not overly pungent. As a matter of fact, Riesling lovers would really get a kick out of this because it’s very much like a stronger Riesling. It’s complex and pure in fruity, floral flavor having very little (if any) oakyness to it.

The reason why I say “a fresh start for an old white wine” is because up until the 1960’s, there were very few acres dedicated to this wine in it’s home turf of Condrieu, France. Less than 20 acres. It was practically extinct. As a matter of fact, it wasn’t even introduced to California until 20 years ago. So for such an old wine that dates back to the Roman empire, it’s just a mere babe to us Americans.

If it’s so good then why was it neglected for so long? There are probably a few answers to that. I’ve read everything from “It’s very prone to mildew and damage” all the way to “Chardonnay took over and there was less of a demand for Viognier”. The only thing I’m sure of is that until as of late, it’s only been grown as a blending grape and not very commonly sold on it’s own. All I can say THANK YOU THANK YOU that it’s back in business; Especially in California.

Here’s a general taste/purchasing profile if you ever want to try this exotic and exciting white wine:

The taste and smell:

It’s medium bodied so it’s right in the middle of what a Charddy (Chardonnay) and Riesling tastes like. It’s fruity with strong tastes and aromas of apricot, mango, pineapple and other tropical fruits. It also smells like a freshly cut bouquet of flowers.


Get this wine while it’s young! The older it gets, the more it’s flavor fades away.

The Look:

The color should be a beautiful, clear gold.

The Food:

Much like Riesling, this wine pairs amazingly with shellfish and anything spicy (Thai, Mexican, etc).

Where You Can Find It:

I know a lot of you are in areas that aren’t exactly noted for it’s extravagant wine selections. I’m lucky enough to find it in any grocery store, but if you have to dig a little to find it, check out online sellers such as Bevmo or Otherwise, most specialty wine stores should have at least one to two bottles. If you have a local wine lounge, go there and try some. I’m sure the staff would love to tell you all about it!

~ Cheers!


Tasty Vino
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