Add viognier to the list of white wine varietals that are becoming increasingly popular among Northwest wine drinkers.
Originating in France, viognier was virtually non-existent in the United States as little as 20 years ago, but it has gradually gained a foothold here – particularly in California and Washington. It’s an amazing comeback, considering that the grape was on the verge of extinction in the 1960’s when less than 10 acres survived in France’s Rhone Valley.
Viognier produced in the Northwest is generally characterized by a light golden color, floral aromas, and luscious flavors ranging from peach to tangerine to apricot. It tends to be fairly high in alcohol and is usually made in a drier style, although off-dry and sweeter late harvest options are also available.
Compared to other white wine varietals, the viognier grape produces lower yields per acre, and the simple economics of supply and demand mean that you’ll likely see it in the higher end price range. But when you factor in what viognier has to offer in terms of flavor, tastes and variety of styles, the few extra dollars are easily worth it.
Next week I’ll offer a few recommendations of viognier produced by Washington wineries.
Wine Note: Taste Washington, touted as “the ultimate wine experience” will be held in Seattle this coming weekend. Saturday, April 4, features a day-long slate of wine-related seminars at Bell Harbor International Harbor Conference Center, while Sunday, April 5, showcases over 200 Washington wineries and 60 Seattle-area restaurants in the Grand Tasting at Qwest Field Events Center. This is a must-attend event for anyone with even a passing interest in good food and great wine.
For more information including ticket purchases visit www.tastewashington.org.