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Viognier, pronounced vee-on-yay, is a white grape variety that is perhaps unknown to some. It originated in Northern Rhône, France but is notably grown worldwide. Recently plantings of the grape have expanded in France to now include Southern Rhône and Languedoc. Whilst the change in terroir hasn’t altered the taste of the grape, Viognier sells at a fraction of the price in Southern Rhône and Languedoc in comparison to Northern Rhône.
If you read our last blog you will know that Zinfandel can be a pesky red to grow. Well Viognier is the pesky white! It is notorious for being extremely vulnerable to a range of diseases when growing in the vineyards. It also a grape in which you must harvest at the optimal time in order to produce a great Viognier.
You may not have heard of the varietal but the chances are you have tasted it. Viognier is commonly blended with other grapes such as Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, Xarel-Lo and Shiraz. As odd as it may sound Shiraz and Viognier are frequently blended together as the Viognier adds an aromatic kick that a straight Shiraz may miss. Whilst France is a biggie for Viognier, Australia, Spain and even Lebanon make great blends with the grape.
Typical characteristics of a Viognier grape include honeysuckle and peach. Other stone fruit aromas which are present can be apricot and nectarine. Similar to Chardonnay, Viognier is a fuller bodied white wine.
Our Australian Rude Mechanicals Ephemera is a great example of a Viognier blend. However if you would like to try a wine that is a little bolder we would recommend Domaine Des Tourelles White Bekaa Valley. A fantastic little find from Lebanon, don’t knock it til you’ve tried it!
There is an array of cuisines to pair with Viognier. From Mediterranean dishes and tapas to Asian spiced dishes such as spiced king prawn with chilli and mango salsa.