Viognier from Washington Offers Plenty of Variety

April 7th, 2009

If you’ve tried viognier you already know it’s a white wine full of surprises – fragrant, fruity, full-bodied, and adaptable to plenty of foods.

For those of you still sitting on the sidelines, what are you waiting for? The pronunciation isn’t too tricky (vee-ohn-yay) and if you’ve tried chardonnay and enjoyed it, then viognier is just a baby step away.

nullWashington wineries provide a great place to begin your viognier tasting, and a few selections that I’ve recently enjoyed include the Kestrel Vintners 2007 Estate Viognier (about $22) from Prosser. This versatile wine has a pleasant aroma of honeysuckle and citrus, peach and melon flavors, a spritz of acidity and a lightly oaky, yet creamy finish. It’s a natural to pair with fish, poultry or cream-based pasta dishes.

I’ve also been extremely impressed with winemaker Paul Portteus’ current releases and his Portteus Vineyards 2007 Viognier (about $24) is no exception. Although he’s been in the wine industry for almost 30 years, this is Portteus’ first vintage of viognier – and it’s a grand slam. It features a bouquet of tropical fruits, plenty of fresh peach and apricot flavors and a lingering, yet dry finish capped by a touch of vanilla. Outstanding!

Start with a subtle fragrance of peaches and sweet alfalfa, and then dive into a glass of Zefina 2007 Viognier (about $20) from Washington’s Horse Heaven Hills appellation. It’s loaded with nectarine and honeydew melon flavors, along with a finish that’s both creamy and textured with a bit of a spicy edge. This big, well structured viognier is powerful, yet elegant and it’s indicative of the terrific wines of this varietal being produced in the Pacific Northwest.

For more information on these and other wines visit each winery’s web site at www.kestrelwines.com, www.portteus.com, and www.zefina.com.

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