Viognier

 

 

Viognier

 

Viognier (occasionally "Vionnier") [vee-oh-NYAY].  An esteemed white-wine grape considered very rare due to limited acreage worldwide. Furthermore, low yield and susceptibility to vineyard disease make Viognier wines an unexpected find. This grape's distinguished reputation is derived from the northern RHÔNE wines of CHÂTEAU-GRILLET and CONDRIEU. Connoisseurs crave the intense, DRY Viognier white wines with vibrant floral qualities and an intriguing BOUQUET reminiscent of apricots, peaches, and pears. Within the CÔTE RÔTIE vineyards, a small amount of Viognier is interplanted with SYRAH, a red grape. The Viognier grapes are harvested and vinified with the Syrah to produce the highly valued Côte Rôtie red wines. In France it is unusual to sanction the use of a white grape in such high-quality red wines.

California plants a small but increasing amount of Viognier, with JOSEPH PHELPS VINEYARDS as an early innovator of this variety.  Today, winemakers have learned that the grape thrives in the soil and climate of the Eastern United States. Some of the finest Viogniers are produced in Virginia and the mid-Atlantic region.

 

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