Do you know the way to Viognier?

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We recently went to dinner at our favorite Thai restaurant.  We decided to take a bottle of 2008 Yalumba Viognier –Eden Valley South Australia ($14/bottle; 14.5% A.B.V).  It’s a wine I purchased from my favorite wine store, K&L Wine Merchants six months ago.  It paired wonderfully with the Thai dishes we selected, Crab fried-rice, Pad Thai, and a moderately spicy dish called “The King and I”.

Have you tried Viognier ( pronounced Vee-on-yay)?  If you haven’t you’re in a a treat!  Viognier is a white wine grape that can be difficult to grow, but in loving hands, it produces wine that is  intensely aromatic with stone fruit, tropical fruit,   spice, and floral notes on the nose.  It can be made into dry, off-dry, and dessert style wines.  It’s made all around the world, including France, South America, Australia, and here in the US.  In California  the Rhone Rangers have been tireless advocates of Viognier along with other Rhone varietals.

While I’m not an “ABC” (Anything But Chardonnay) guy, and I do enjoy Chardonnay, I generally  find other white wine varietals more interesting.  Probably because I feel other white wine varietals like Riesling, and Gewurztraminer are more versatile with the foods I tend to eat. That’s definitely the case with Viognier.  It pairs better with the foods I enjoy.   Beside Asian food, Viognier should pair well with grilled seafood, and shellfish including lobster.  It would also pair well with foods served with fruit salsa.  Be sure to keep the wine chilled, otherwise it can taste too “warm” – out of balance.

Since I’m a red-wine drinker, probably 3-1 compared to white wine, I also find it interesting that Viognier is added to Syrahs for it’s aromatics.  Whenever I’ve had a Syrah that included Viognier, I’ve really enjoyed it.

As for the Yalumba Viognier we had last night I scored it 90 points – Here are my tasting notes: Very light straw colored, with a touch of green.  It has a wonderfully perfumed nose with stone-fruit, flowers, and a touch of spice.  The light color of the wine belies its elegance.  On the palate it was viscous,  medium-full bodied, round, and creamy with  nice acidity. I picked  up ripe pear, and pineapple with a hint of spice with a long finish.   Great QPR (Quality-Price Ratio) at $14.

Looking to find a Viognier locally here in Northern Cali?  Try Rosenblum Cellars Kathy’s Cuvee Viognier ($18).  It’s has more residual sugar than the Aussie Viognier.  It’s the first Viognier we tried, and it’s one of our favorites too!

Find your way to Viognier!