Viognier is an ancient white grape that can be traced back to Dalmatia. The Romans brought it to Rhone France about 2000 years ago. Once, a common grape, Viognier was almost to the point of extinction in the late 1960's as only 30 acres were planted in all of France including 8 acres in Northern Rhone. Phylloxera infestation and WWII chaos were the main culprits and Viognier remained endangered until the 1980's. Since that time, the popularity of the wine, as well as the price, has risen and thus the number of plantings has increased. Large plantings of Viognier can now be found in Australia, Brazil, California, Oregon, Washington, Languedoc and Rhone. The main drawback to Viognier is that it is a very shy producer and difficult to grow. Low yields and susceptibility to damp conditions and humidity make cultivation difficult and thus prices are usually higher.
Viognier fruit has low acids and a dark golden color for a white wine. The best quality of Viognier is its intense aromatics. It is well known for its floral and fruit aromas, due to terpenes, which are also found in Muscat and Riesling wines. Overripe stone fruits, orange blossoms, honey, mango, tangerine, kiwi, and acacia all have used to describe Viognier. Viognier typically does not see an oak barrel, however, it has enormous body and mouth feel that make it a hit with the Chardonnay drinker. Viognier can have the body of a nutty, oaky, buttery Chardonnay, but it has a much more distinctive fruit characteristic. As a result, Viognier has become a preferable alternative to someone looking for something besides Chardonnay.
The sexiness of Viognier is its powerful, rich, complex aroma. The most famous Viognier has come from the Northern Rhone appellations Condrieu and Chateau-Grille! Viognier is also used in blending with Syrah in Cote Rotie and with several Australian producers. In the United States, we are just producing it as a single varietal. For some people, Viognier can be a little strong or overbearing to the palate. A single glass can go a long way but this also adds interest to food pairings. Spicy dishes, Asian stir-fry, curry, Thai food, fruit salsa, and salads with Caesar or Vinaigrette dressing can be immensely tasty with a glass of Viognier.
2016 Oswego Hills Viognier
Our Viognier is sourced from the Monson Family at Goose Ridge Vineyard of Columbia Valley Washington. This wine is loaded with aromatics. It is lively and expressive, bright and fragrant. Peach and apricot flavors add excellent richness and intensity, with lingering concentration and just enough lemon acidity to keep it refreshing on the finish. Seafood, pasta, turkey, veal, ham, heavy cheeses, spicy food and salads work well with this wine. Viognier really melds well with just about anything or works just fine on its own during a hot summer day.