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.