Happy Sunday! It’s been quite a week… between recovering from the holidays, the craziness of work, getting back on track with the workouts (hello it IS resolution month) then blowing it on cheese and wine, AND getting ready for upcoming life changes (I’m moving!), things have been kind of nuts! It’s a good thing that I have the weekends to pack then unwind with some wine and football. Those that know me know that I’m a big fan of college football, but have always been a 49er fan, too.
While watching the NFL Playoffs yesterday, I decided it’d be fun to try out a few bottles of Viognier for this month’s Viognier exploration! In case you missed it, I’ll be featuring a new varietal every month and sharing some tips and suggestions for good options in a variety of price ranges. Really, it’s just an excuse to get together with friends or family and taste new wines (shhh, it’s “research”).
Like I mentioned in my last post, Viognier is a fuller bodied white wine that is perfect for colder winter months spent in front of the fireplace or paired with a creamy comfort food. Always a good alternative to Chardonnay, I like how Viognier tends to be lushly perfumed (floral, tropical fruit, peaches…) with a hearty texture and the right hint of oak. Like many wines, though, Viognier can totally be beaten to death with oak or be so heavy on sweet fruit flavors that it literally tastes like canned peaches in syrupy juice. Ick. My goal this month is to help you avoid those and find balanced wines that let Viognier’s alluring characteristics shine!
In my tasting yesterday, I tried three wines from Washington and France, ranging from $15 to $35. The first wine, the 2012 K Vintners Columbia Valley Viognier ($20), was a really lovely wine. It had aromas of honeysuckle and lemon rind with pear, citrus and minerally characteristics on the palate. Rich, tart and nicely balanced, this wine leaves you wanting another sip. Yum!
Next, the 2010 àMaurice Columbia Valley Viognier ($35). This wine had completely different aromas than K Vintners’, taking on more honeyed or butterscotch and granny smith apple aromas. More closely resembling a Chardonnay than the others, it had noticeable oak, lemon meringue flavors and an almost buttery mouthfeel. A nice wine, yes, but I preferred the others.
Lastly, the 2012 Michel Gassier Viognier Les Piliers ($15), a great little Viognier from France. It had powerful floral and orange blossom aromas complemented by chalk and wet stone nuances. It was dry, with white peach and apricot flavors and a clean, crisp acidity. I was a fan, especially at this price point!
The next time you’re (watching football) wanting to reach for a fuller bodied wine that isn’t a red wine or a Chardonnay, give any of the above a chance and you won’t be disappointed! No guarantees that your team will win, though. Cheers!