Three Viogniers

i’ll not beat around the bush here and just come out with it: there isn’t a varietal i dislike more than Viognier. i typically find it too perfumey and fruit forward, and i try and avoid most low/mid level stuff like boxed wine.

Naturally, of course, actively avoiding something is the surest way to get people to try and sell you on it, whether it be bad 90’s house music, bdsm, or wine. In the past two months I have had three such wines foist upon to me with better than expected results (though i am by no means sold on the grape yet).

Yalumba Valley Organic Viognier 2007

This wine has everything going for it that says buy me. A new world, organic, natural yeast wine with a terroir based approach is what i hope we start seeing from more and more vineyards here, Australia, S. Africa etc. What i hope doesn’t happen is that we start seeing the wines turn into something like this. the wine is fruit heavy like overripe pears and overly alcoholic. Definitely a pass, though I will look at future releases because i support the philosophy (probably a bad idea, but hey, ideology).

Copain Tous Ensemble Viognier, 2007 Mendocino County

Another natural wine from the new world that holds the distinction of being the first California viognier I have actually enjoyed. Higher acidity than the wine above (though still not sauvignon blanc), with subdued floral and peach notes. Medium bodied, very good with food.

Domaine Gramenon “Vie On y Est,” Cotes du Rhone
There must be some part of me that secretly wishes that i wasn’t a simpering europhile because i always root for up and coming new-world wineries that never quite pan out like i would’ve hoped. i do suppose however that this small part of my gastronomic psyche is ultimately outweighed by an ascot wearing, gauloise chain smoking ex-pat who will always return to continental tastes when given the slightest chance.

Out of all three Viogniers none had the depth or character of this wine, which is not surprising since it comes from Domaine Gramenon, long a favorite of mine. The wine is ever so slightly sparkling (think vinho verde) with some distive hibiscus, honeysuckle flavor. The wine also plays some interesting tricks on the finish, moving from drier to sweeter at the end. Definite food wine.

Sorry for the bare bones post, been working 90-100 hours a week.

~ by Cory Cartwright on November 14, 2008.

4 Responses to “Three Viogniers”

  1. viognier is a tough one. the stuff from condrieu is nothing like the central coast wines. p fleury is food friendly but i couldnt stand it on an empty stomach. qupe is doing some nice things too. maybe it makes a nice spritzer?

  2. Qupe has been recommended before so it looks like i will need to check it out. The really good bottles of condrieu i have had in the past all blew me away but trying to find them in the states has proven a bit of a challenge.

  3. Nice post, particularly relating to the europhile tendencies. I hear ya, I root for the home team but somehow victory remains illusive – the wine version of my Baltimore Orioles.

    Ah, viognier. Maybe one day I will gain an appreciation for this grape. The other day I was reading something on Serge Hochar of Ch Musar, something to the effect of “I planted viognier so I could prove to myself that I don’t like this grape.” Generally, that has been my outlook when I try Viognier at work. That having been said, the Copain version has a relatively light touch and (for viognier) is solid. Would be interesting in trying Gramenone’s.

  4. Viognier happens to be one of my favorite whites to taste because of the floral aromatics which I find breathtaking. The wine does however lack acidity at time and can seem flabby. Alban makes great viognier and Qupe too. Of course the wines from Condrieu too.

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