Viognier is a full-bodied, rich, oily white wine that originated in the Northern Rhône and is rapidly growing in popularity in California - America, Australia, and beyond.
If you love to brood over bolder white wines like Chardonnay, Viognier is something you’ll like to swirl.
Let’s discover more about this grape variety with WeWine today.
Viognier produces the best wines when it grows in sunny regions with temperatures moderated by cool nights or nearby bodies of water. The importance of cool weather is to maintain Viognier’s precious acidity. When seeking out fine Viognier wines you’ll notice these regional traits. Here are a few examples of where to look:
- Northern Rhône Valley in France (Condrieu and Château-Grillet)
- Walla Walla and Columbia Valley in Washington
- Stellenbosch, Franschhoek, and Elgin in South Africa
- Eden Valley (Barossa) and Adelaide Hills, South Australia
- Paso Robles, Central and North Coast of California
Tasting notes of Viognier grape variety and wine styles:
- Viognier can be aged in oak to deliver Chardonnay-like richness: rich creamy taste with hints of vanilla. If you like Chardonnay you’ll like the weight of Viognier and notice it’s often a little softer on acidity, a bit lighter and more perfumed. New-oak-aging Viognier is for those who love to stop and smell the flowers.
- Neutral and no oak aging (made in Stainless steel) will deliver more floral and tropical fruit flavors in the wine while maintaining its acidity and often a subtle bitter note.
On the palate:
- The wines are typically dry although some producers will make a slightly off-dry style that embellishes Viognier’s peachy aromas.
- Viognier wines are almost always noted for an oily sensation on the middle of the tongue which is a characteristic of wines made with this grape. The drier styles come across less fruity on the palate and deliver subtle bitterness almost like crunching into a fresh rose petal.
Viognier ranges from about 13.5%–15% alcohol by volume (ABV). This might not seem like a big jump but, on the palate, the extremes will taste like 2 very different wines. If you prefer a lighter, leaner Viognier, seek out wines that range from about 14% ABV or less. And if you want to have a richer, bolder, fruit-forward style, get a higher alcohol style.
The trick to pairing foods with Viognier wine is to fully respect its delicate floral notes and medium acidity. Thus, as a rule, focus on embellishing and expanding the wine’s core flavors while making sure that the foods you pair with it aren’t too acidic or bold. This wine is best paired with delicate meats or scallops that are flavored with stewed fruit, almonds, citrus or aromatic herbs (such as Thai Basil or Tarragon).