Viognier Wine – History, Flavour, Aroma and Everything Between
The Viognier wine is a delight for the people that appreciate things like the sweet smell of flowers. Viognier tastes range from flavors that are lighter such as honeysuckle, mango and tangerine, and all the way to vanilla aromas featuring spices of clove and nutmeg that are creamier. If you are familiar with Chardonnay, then you will fall for the Viognier as well, as it is a bit more perfumed, slightly lighter and marginally softer on the acidity.
It can work as an alternative to Pinot Grigio and Chardonnay, for white-wine drinkers out there, and if the wine is prepared in a stainless-steel tank, it brings flavors of apricot and peach. Like most wines, viognier is also prone to relatively wide variation depending on the growing circumstances, with samples from California tasting significantly different to those from South Africa or Australia.
Viognier wine grows in areas that are sunny in which the nights are colder and are close to large areas of water. The cold weather is essential as it regulates the wine’s key feature – its acidity. Initially, the wine originated from the Rhone Valley., but it is also often grown in:
- Raso Robles in California
- Elgin, Franschhoek, and Stellenbosch in South Africa
- Walla Walla in Washington
- Adelaide Hills and Barossa in Australia
The secret in food pairing with Viognier wine is that you always keep in mind its acidity and dainty floral notes. Thus, make sure you pair it with foods that are not bold or acidic. For example, a combination of chicken tagine with almonds and apricots is a perfect match with a Californian Viognier. The aromas in this plate heighten the creaminess and flavors found within the wine. Generally speaking, it is an excellent pair with almost any spicy food.
Viognier also pairs excellently with soft and semi-soft cheese, so we’d certainly suggest serving up a chilled bottle at your next garden party. We’d recommend trying with everything from Gruyère to Chèvre and gouda to French brie. Furthermore, since Viognier pairs wonderfully with nuts such as cashews and macadamias, why not serve these alongside your cheeseboard to give your guests a real treat!
Tips for buying Viognier wines
Here are few things to consider while you are looking to buy Viognier.
Viognier’s alcohol volume (ABV) is in the range of 13.5% to 15%. At first, this doesn’t look like somewhat of a big difference. But, the higher and the lower version will taste like completely different vines.
If you are more into leaner, lighter wine, then choose from the ones with 14% ABV, or lower. On the other hand, if you prefer a bolder, richer, more fruit-forward oriented style, get one that has a higher ABV.
There are two variations accepted by most Viognier producers: no oak aging and new oak aging. No oak aging or neutral is produced in stainless steel and gives more fruit and floral flavor while preserving its acidity. The new oak aging provides a much creamier taste, aromas of vanilla, nutmeg, and clove, with much lower acidity.
Should you chill Viognier?
Viognier wine is typically meant to be served at around 52F (11C) which is significantly cooler than room temperature, allowing the more rich, full and complex flavors of the wine to come forth in both the taste and the bouquet.
However, it should also be noted that this is significantly above the average temperature of a fridge (unless you have a temperature controlled wine fridge) so take care to chill your viognier and then remove from the fridge a little while before the ideal time to drink it.
Further, please be careful to not use an ice bucket – this isn’t champagne we’re drinking here!
Viognier Wine – Our conclusion
The Viognier wine is all about the flavors, aromas and its specific acidity that make it such a delight. Pair it with something spicy, and you will experience with all of its glory…some claim that the Thai cuisine is the perfect match for this wine!
Viognier also has a reputation as being the ideal ‘garden party wine’, and is great to be served slightly chilled in summer as a refreshing glass alongside some picnic-style flavors like the previously mentioned cheeseboard. So grab a few bottles and chill them for the next time you’re hosting a garden party – great stuff!