This Viognier wine guide is part of our grape variety series. A series of articles aimed at exposing all grapes, both popular and obscure. Learn about Viognier wine, what it tastes like and what foods are best served with this aromatic grape variety.
What is Viognier Wine?
Viognier is a white wine grape variety known to produce full-bodied white wines of depth and profound flavor. It’s a unique grape variety in that it’s surprisingly aromatic and perfumy despite being a traditionally dry wine. The premier white wine grape of Northern Rhone, France — Viognier wines can be difficult to craft, since there is only a brief window when they can be harvested to acquire to best aromas and flavors. If not allowed to ripen fully, the grapes can have low acidity. Viognier vines require sunny days over a long moderately warm growing season to attain optimal ripeness. Yields can also be relatively uneven and unpredictable.
Viognier is typically best consumed while still relatively young as overtime it tends to lose its signature perfume aromatics.
Fun Fact: Viognier almost went extinct in the 1960s, with fewer than 50 acres of vineyard plot remaining between two Chateau’s in Northern Rhone. It was saved in part due to winemakers making the extra effort to plant this stubborn grape variety throughout California.
What does Viognier Taste Like? Viognier Tasting Profile
Common Flavors and Aromas
- Fruit: Tropical (Peach, Apricot, Apple)
- Earth & Mineral Notes: Gravel, Limestone, Stone
- Additional Complexities: Petunias, Zinnia, Geranium
- Body: Medium-Full
- Sugar: Dry
- Tannins: Light
- Acid: Medium-Minus
- Alcohol: Medium-Plus (12.5%-14.5% ABV)
- Finish: Fruit Forward, Medium
- Soil: Varied (Clay, Gravel, Limestone)
- Climate: Moderately Cool – Warm & Sunny (Can’t be too hot)
- Notable Regions: Northern Rhone, France | Southern Rhone, France | Eden Valley, Australia | Central Coast, California | Fredericksburg, Texas
Because of it’s full-bodied structure and rich fruit forward flavor, the best Viognier’s traditionally pair well with heavier fish and shellfish. I frequently migrate towards Teriyaki Salmon and Parmigiano-Reggiano Risotto. Thai food, like General Tso’s chicken, works nicely being both a sweet and spicy dish. I recently sampled the Le Paradou 2013 Viognier along side crispy oyster bites basked in spicy aioli and mango-poblano pico – pictured left.
Looking to try a nice Viognier? Try the Yalumba Eden Valley 2013 Viognier at Wine.com.