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At a glance

Country of Origin: France
Region of Origin: Rhone
Typical Product: White
Structure: Medium
Climate: Warm
Soil Type: Difficult to grow, Sandy
Serving Temp: 53 - 58F
Ageability: 1 to 3
Blends:
Sauces to Pair:
Meals to Pair:
Other Names*:

Details


Viognier became known in the Rhone region of Southern France although its actual origins remain a mystery.  Its more recent past is well documented however.  In 1965, there were a total of 8 acres of Viognier under cultivation worldwide, producing a mere 500 gallons.  Viognier was an infestation or a decision to switch crops away from oblivion but a funny thing happened on the road to extinction.  Viognier acquired a couple of devoted fans in Georges Duboeuf in France and Josh Jensen in California according to Oz Clark.  The turnaround is nothing short of astonishing.  Viognier is now planted in one quarter of the states in the US and in the majority of wine producing countries.  By the early 2000s, some wine makers were pulling out more common wine grapes like Chardonnay and replacing them with Viognier.  Since that time, the rabid Viognier expansion has slowed but it retains a growing fan base that have grown tired of the same old whites.

One factor most likely to limit the growth of Viognier is the difficulty in growing good fruit.  It's not a particularly vigorous grower, tends to produce lower yields and is susceptible to powdery mildew.  It's quite sensitive to picking at just the right time while other Varietals are more forgiving about harvest times.  Under ripened Viognier don't develop the characteristic aroma so sought after, yet letting the fruit over ripen will increase the alcohol overwhelming the sought after balance.  Viognier grapes are deep yellow to amber in color and are one of the more aromatic Winegrapes even while still in fruit form. 

The biggest mistake consumers make when buying or drinking Viognier is assuming it's the Rhone's answer to Chardonnay.  They have very little in common from flavor, use of oak or age worthiness.  While well made Chardonnay's can improve for up to five years and those made in the traditional style of Burgundy can improve for up to ten years.  Viognier is almost always at its best only two or three years after harvest and it quickly degrades from there.

Viognier is an enigma.  Its origins are unknown.  It's capable of producing alcoholic wines if left to ripen fully in warmer environments yet it can bend toward floral or perfumed characteristics.  Perhaps most in question is its future.  Is it the next big thing in white wines, destined to take its place alongside Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc or has it peaked at being a popular but niche wine?

* used in California

Show Me Wineries That Are Selling This Wine With Expanded Listings On Winery-Sage.com

(Please click on the Winery name for more information)

Name Vintage Year Price Tasting Comments
Black Ridge Winery
 
2009  $32.00  Estate 
Leal Vineyards
 
2010  $20.00   
Eberle Winery
 
2010  $23.00   
Deaver Vineyards
 
2010  $19.00   
Callaway Vineyard
 
2009  $20.00  Special Selection 
Thomas Coyne Winery
 
2012  $18.00   
Peachy Canyon Winery
 
2010  $25.00   
Eckert Estate Winery
 
2012  $18.00   
Dobra Zemlja Winery
 
2009  $20.00   
Karmere Vineyards & Winery
 
  $18.56  Kade's Viognier 
Idle Hour Winery
 
2015  $28.00   
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