A grape that provided a new tasting experience from oaky Chardonnays and the high acidity that can be found in Sauvignon Blancs, Viognier was on the verge of extinction before it was discovered, with just a few vines in Condrieu, France. Difficult to grow with an irregular harvest, Viognier thrives in sunny regions that are tempered by cool nights or coastal winds. Soft and supple in texture, Viognier is best known for the oily sensation that hits the middle of the tongue, with swoon worthy notes of tangerine, peach, honeysuckle, and rose. Enjoy alongside chicken curry, grilled salmon, potatoes au gratin, and baked brie with apricot jam.
When it comes to aging Viognier, winemakers choose between using new oak or no oak. New oak aging leads to creamier wines, with lower acidity and subtle baking spice notes like nutmeg and clove. While stainless steel aging, or no oak aging, delivers a white wine with more nuanced tropical fruit and floral flavors, while preserving its acidity. Mainly found in France, where Viognier originates, a smattering of vines can also be found in Australia, the United States, Italy, and South Africa.
Looking to indulge? Here are some wines to try:
Grape Photo Credit: Doris Schneider, Julius Kühn-Institut (JKI), Federal Research Centre for Cultivated Plants, Institute for Grapevine Breeding Geilweilerhof - 76833 Siebeldingen, GERMANY