Pronounced: vee-ohn-yay

History: Originating in the Rhône region of France. Limited amounts of Viognier are planted throughout the world because the grape is difficult to grow, produces low yields, and is susceptible to disease. All of these facts make Viognier wines rare. The Viognier white grape variety was rescued from near extinction just a few decades ago and is now one of the hottest varietals going around. Wine connoisseurs search out these wines, craving the intriguing characteristics. In France, the Viognier is vinified with Syrah (a red grape) to produce high quality Côte Rôtie red wine. The highest quality Viognier is from Condrieu and Château Grillet appellations in the Rhône region of France. Wines produced with Viognier are appealing to drinkers of Chardonnay and Gewürztraminer.

Description: Most wines produced are enticingly fruity and richly flavoured however the variety also has the capacity to be made into exceedingly complex and well structured wines. The most distinctive attribute of Viognier is its stone fruit character, most notably that of apricot. It can also show considerable floral and spice tones. In cooler climates you can see citrus whilst in warmer areas there is more honeysuckle. It has good viscosity due to generous alcohol levels and is similar to Chardonnay in that it has a weighty mid-palate and generous flavour, making it a good alternative to this ubiquitous variety.

The best wines have distinctive fruit characters and good palate weight without being overblown or overly alcoholic.

Taste/Aromas: Quality can range from ordinary to exceptional. Known for its complexity, powerful aroma, and flavors of floral, tropical fruit, spice, and herbs. Viognier varietal tends to be dry, medium to full bodied, low in acidity, and low in tannins. Processing techniques determine the bouquet and flavors. These can include butter, cream, light vanilla, smoke, and toast.

Regions: Eden Valley, McLaren Vale, Langhorne Creek and Adelaide Hills S.A., Riverland, Riverina and Murray Valley. Today, most regions throughout Australia have a small amount of Viognier planted.

Cellaring: Should be drunk young with the exception of Château Grillet which is renowned for ageing up to 20 years.

Food: Seafood, poultry, Asian cuisine, Thai cuisine, lobster, roast chicken, sautéed sole, sautéed trout, bacon dishes, Cajun fish, mild cheeses, and barbecued poultry.