First off, let’s get the pronunciation down: Vee-ohn-yay
Viognier is not for everyone. This grape has a bundle of strong flavors that most people find strange. If picked at the right time, you get apricots, alcohol and spice. Sometimes its even a little oily on the tongue. It will smell like fragrant white flowers (think Gardenias). If picked at the wrong time, it sucks… a lot. I have poured more than one bottle of Viognier down the drain.
Viognier is the anti-chardonnay. It won’t let you manipulate its strong personality. But that’s we love about it. It’s not afraid to be itself. Gotta respect a wine that has self-confidence. But, like people with strong personalities, it’s not the most popular kid on the block.
Viognier almost went extinct during the 20th century. It was down to 20 or so acres in the Rhone valley of Southern France. But, on the brink of oblivion, it made the jump across the Atlantic and has found a home in sunny California. Here in the States, it has found a devoted following.
This week, we reviewed 4 American Viogniers. Overall, they were pretty damn good. So check them out!
2005 Toasted Head Viognier 2 Guys Best Buy
2004 Bears Lair Viognier 2 Guys Don’t Buy