North Coast Wine Co. Outerbound Pinot Noir – WineO Mark Review Wine Stats Grape Variety: 100% Pinot Noir Vintage: 2019 ABV: 14% Wine Region: North Coast,
Ultimate Guide to Viognier | All You Need to Know | Our TOP 10
If you’re looking for a dry white wine that is both fruity and floral, Viognier might be the perfect choice for you.
And its characterized by their fragrant and sweet aromas while still being crafted into a delightful dry wine.
So in this blog post, we will discuss everything you need to know about Viognier wine! Plus, we’ll talk about what it is, where it’s from, how it’s made, and what it tastes like. And we’ll also recommend 10 of our favorite Viognier wines!
Table of Contents
What is Viognier?
Viognier is a medium to full-bodied white grape, typically producing wines of high alcohol and moderate acidity.
And its known for its strong aromatics of stone fruit, honeysuckle, rose, orange blossom, white pepper and melon. Additionally on the palate it offers a texture like no other; creamy yet slightly oily with flavors of tangerine, peach and mango followed with a hint of almond husk and bitter citrus on the finish.
Furthermore, Viognier is capable of producing wines with a substantial body and weight, yet when sourced from cooler climates can still maintain its vibrant acidity. And the best Viogniers tend to have a great balance between fruit flavors, subtle oak notes (if any) and the right amount of refreshing acidity.
Where is it Produced?
It originates from the Northern Rhône Valley in France. And more specifically its a white wine grape known for producing in the Condrieu appellation of Northern Rhône – it’s the only variety approved here. Furthermore, the term is generally associated with Château-Grillet‘s single vineyard from within Condrieu’s region (one of the few wineries that have their own AOC (called a monopole))!
And this late-ripening variety flourishes with plenty of warm sunlight to achieve its maximum ripeness. And here, in Northern Rhone, the wines are known for their abundant floral aromas and full body in taste.
But Viognier can also be found in other parts of France such as Provence, Loire, Jura, Languedoc-Roussillon, and Savoie. With its full-bodied and complex aroma, this variety is an ideal component for blending with brighter and more acidic varieties.
And it has also been successfully cultivated in other regions such as Australia (Barossa) and Adelaide Hills, South Australia; Paso Robles, Central and North Coast of California; Columbia Valley, Washington, South Africa, New Zealand, Italy, and the Willamette Valley, Oregon.
How is Viognier Produced?
So for these grapes to reach their peak of ripeness, a long warm season is essential in order for the aromas and flavors to fully develop. And the climate must be ideal – not too hot so that sugar levels become overly high resulting in higher alcohol content but also not too cold which hinders proper maturation. Because preserving the acidity of Viognier is extremely important, which requires cool temperatures.
Therefore these grapes grow in regions with abundant sunlight along with cool nights or nearby bodies of water.
Usually, Viognier wines are fermented in stainless steel tanks. Nonetheless, if they need to take on a more full-bodied, rich flavor and texture, barrel fermentation is the ideal approach.
Viognier vs Chardonnay
So if you enjoy Chardonnay, you’ll undoubtedly appreciate the full-bodied Viognier that usually has lower acidity levels and is less tart in flavor. Additionally, it has an exquisitely fragrant aroma.
Here are some of the similarities and differences between the two:
- Both are full bodied with a creamy texture (more oily for Viognier)
- And Chardonnay has more citrus notes, while Viognier has more floral notes with a slight mineral/bitter taste.
- Plus, Chardonnay is a higher yield grape that is easy to cultivate and adapts to different conditions, while Viognier is a low-yielding grape that requires a certain climate to flourish.
- Finally, Chardonnay tends to have more flavor from the start with a buttery note at the finish, while Viognier has a much softer oily sensation in the mouth with a slight bitter mineral finish.
What Does Viognier Taste Like?
Viognier boasts a delicious bouquet of flavors, ranging from tropical, stone fruits, and floral to creamy notes of vanilla combined with the gentle hints of nutmeg and almonds.
And Viognier wines are known for their distinct oiliness, which you can feel on the middle of your tongue — a defining trait of this grape!
Oak vs No Oak Aging Flavors
- Oak aging brings out a richer creamier taste, lower acidity and aromas of nutmeg and vanilla.
- And No oak aging or neutral oak, the wine retains its delicate floral and tropical fruit flavors while keeping a balanced acidity with an occasional hint of bitterness.
Viognier Food Pairings
The key to creating a perfect pairing between Viognier wine and food is to appreciate its subtle floral notes and moderate acidity. For this reason, the ideal pairing should neither be too strong nor tart. So that the aromas and flavors in the dish will heighten the fruit flavors and creaminess in the wine.
- Orange Chicken
- Butter Chicken
- Grilled Glazed Salmon and Potatoes
- Lemongrass Thai Chicken
- Dumplings with ginger sauce
- Roast Chicken
- Shrimp Pad Thai
- Under 14% ABV, you will get a delicate and lighter Viognier. However if your preference is for a more full-bodied, intense flavor with rich fruit notes, then look for 14% ABV or higher.
- In Côte-Rôtie, Viognier is blended and co-fermented with the red grape Syrah (Only up to 20% is permitted).
- If you are searching for a Northern Rhône Viognier, look for “Condrieu”, or “Château-Grillet”
- Monopole is where one winery/estate owns the entire AOC (ex. Château-Grillet)
- Viognier grape is a cousin of Nebbiolo grape (Piedmont, Italy)
10 Best Viognier Under $30
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1) Pine Ridge Vineyards Chenin Blanc - Viognier Blend (Best Overall)
For under $15, this is a great value dry white wine that is a blend of Chenin Blanc and Viognier. And it has vibrant aromas and flavors of apples, peach, pear, apricot, and honey with hints of jasmine and minerals.
2) Laurent Miquel Viognier Grande Cuvée Vérité 2013 (Best French)
Another amazing wine with aromas of apricots, citrus and floral notes that lingers in the glass. Additionally, with a medium body and a nice balance between acidity and sweetness, this wine is oily, smooth going down with notes of vanilla and toast.
3) Domaine du Bois de Saint Jean Madame d'Ust Côtes du Rhône 2020
This medium to full bodied wine offers aromatic tropical fruit flavors with a hint of sweetness. And the fruity flavors are balanced with an underlying acidity that keeps the well structured and balanced.
4) Stags' Leap Viognier 2020 (Best Premium)
An iconic Napa Valley winery produces this outstanding dry white wine. It’s fragrant with notes of peach, apple, pear, and apricot on the nose. And it offers a crisp, refreshing, and clean finish.
5) M. Chapoutier La Combe Pilate 2019
This wine is oily on the palate with notes of lemon zest, peaches, and apricot. And its full bodied and well balanced with good acidity and a slight bitter mineral finish.
6) Miner California Viognier 2019
This wine is characterized by fruit flavors of citrus, apricot, mango, pineapple, and peach combined with the gentle hints of floral and minerals. And its very clean, smooth with refreshing acidity.
7) Vina Robles Huerhuero Viognier 2021 (Best Paso Robles)
This Paso Robles Viognier has aromas and flavors of tropical fruits, peach, melon, and ginger. And its buttery on the palate with a crisp mouthfeel and a soft finish.
8) Domaine de la Janasse Viognier Principauté d'Orange 2019
Another Viognier from France with ripe apricot and citrus fruit aromas and some slight floral scents. On the palate, it has luscious texture that’s well balanced, and the finish is long with vanilla and smoke.
9) Casale del Giglio Viognier Lazio Bianco 2021 (Best Italian)
This Italian wine has wonderful aromas of citrus, peach, pear, apple, and orange blossom, with flavors of stone fruit. It’s medium bodied and well balanced with an oily texture and a nice lengthy finish.
10) McManis Viognier 2020 (Best Central Valley)
From the Central Valley in California, this good valued wine features a nose of honeysuckle, tangerine and jasmine with flavors of ripe apricot, peach, and nectarine.
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