Wine Talk

Snooth User: jamessulis

Viognier Virgin

Posted by jamessulis, Feb 11, 2017.


Just tasted my first Viognier and what a delight. I purchased one that was extremely economical but one with respectability in it's ratings. I didn't want to go overboard on my first venture with a newbie.

This one averaged 3 and a half out of 5 here at Snooth. I'm sure it's well known, it's called McManis Family Vineyards out of Ripon California (not sure whereabouts that is but that's ok with me) This one had a lovely golden color, the gold of a Crown. Tropical fruits and mineral mouth coatings which I love.

If you like apricot, papaya, mango and a touch of lemon and a nuance of honey without being too sweet this is one to try. I'm sure there are better ones but I have nothing to compare it to. As I said, my first Viognier and guess what...................not my last.


The Great Pacific Northwest


Reply by vin0vin0, Feb 11, 2017.

Hey Lefty, gotta love the viognier.  Surprisingly enough, some of my favorite viognier has come from the Central Coast, several wineries in Paso make excellent wine from this grape.  Two that come immediately to mind are Tablas and Anglim (although Anglim sources their grapes from Santa Maria Valley.  Love that white stone fruit mixed with honey and creamy citrus flavor along with the typically fairly high acidity.

Reply by JonDerry, Feb 11, 2017.

Good to hear McManis is still holding it down. I remember having very good low dollar experiences with their wines many years back. 

Reply by RandyFisher, Feb 12, 2017.

Cline Cellars North Coast Viognier has been my go to viognier for a while now. Thanks for the tip. I'll give it a try.

As a second thought Lefty. Viognier can set on the shelves a while in the US. It can get a bit oily with age. I'd stick to wines 3 years or younger. 


Reply by rckr1951, Feb 12, 2017.

Yalumba makes a good viognier and it is available in the US. It's wonderful.  It is used very successfully in a blends with shiraz.  It is also done well in the south of France either on it's own or in blends.  France is the ancestral home of the grape and you'd think they'd market it better over here but they don't.

Stateside production has increased from Cali and lots of people are trying it - especially with the ABC movement (Which I think is dumb by the way.)  So welcome to the small club - it's nice to see.

Reply by Stephen Harvey, Feb 12, 2017.

Yes Yalumba do 2 excellent Viogniers - their top one the Virgilius is outstanding in good vintage years

The Guigal family make excellent Viognier from the Condrieu region 

Yes it is a great wine when blended or co-fermented in small quantities with shiraz

Clonakilla from just outside Canberra is the benchmark Australian SHiraz Viognier

Reply by duncan 906, Feb 12, 2017.

As RCKR1951 says viognier originated in France,like so many of the so-called 'international', grape varieties, to be specific in the northern Rhone valley in the Condrieu appellation. I have had several. It is a dry wine with a melon,peach and pear style fruit and some have a floral finish. Chateau Grillet is also made of viognier but I have not tried one

Reply by GregT, Feb 17, 2017.

It may be the grape that promises most and delivers least. Always a nice floral note and rarely has the acidity and complexity to balance it out.

Surprisingly however, as others have said, it's also one of those grapes that people have been playing with in CA and it's promising. I've had a few satisfying versions from CA. Qupe is another that comes to mind - I was visiting them about a year ago and they had some bottles left from an older vintage. I tried it and took them all.

Reply by dmcker, Feb 17, 2017.

How many of those left at home now, Greg?

Agree with you on the poor enticement vs. delivery quotient. Grillet was good when I drank it but was overpriced compared to so many other wines when I first encountered it at the beginning of the '80s, so I detoured to those others, which were usually not viognier, either. Co-fermentation I view as a whole different subject.

The Rhone 'landscape' has changed so much since then when 2/3 of the C9dPs seemingly smelled of road apples. Does anyone have any dope on how Grillet has evolved/adapated/whatever since then?

Reply by duncan 906, Feb 17, 2017.

As I said I have not tried Chateau Grillet,firstly because you very rarely see it for sale,and secondly, because it is a horrendously expensive wine [ think a serious classed growth from Bordeaux or a Grand Cru Burgundy ]  I do not agree with DMCKER and GREGT  that the Condrieu appellation promises much and delivers little as I have enjoyed several [and reviewed them for Snooth ] One of the better ones I have had is from Domaine du Monteillet run by Stephane Montez.This got 92 points from Wine Spectator and was considered good enough to be served to the Chinese president at a State dinner in Paris.I also thought highly of Vallouit Condrieu Tendre a L'Ancienne but that domaine is now defunct having being sold to Guigal in 2001.

Reply by Really Big Al, Feb 17, 2017.

We've had a few Viognier wines over the years, but not many.  It just so happens that last night I opened a nice 2013 Chilean Chardonnay / Viognier blend from Botalcura in the Maule Valley.  It was decent and I would recommend it to my friends. 

Reply by amour, Feb 17, 2017.


Reply by Really Big Al, Feb 17, 2017.

It's hard not to appreciate them since we toured Chile, Argentina and Brazil back in 2014.

Reply by amour, Feb 17, 2017.
Reply by GregT, Feb 18, 2017.

D - it's a whole other topic how those wines have evolved, changed, etc. I have to say, I haven't followed enough to opine. Clearly something to learn about!

As far as Chile goes, I think they had marketing problems in the US. There were a lot of wines imported because they were made from the pop grapes like Cab Sauv, Merlot, etc. But maybe the places in Chile where those were grown might have been better for other grapes?

I've often preferred the whites, based on what was available in the US. But the reds are getting better every year as they're matching grapes to the regions and learning the idiosyncrasies of the vineyards.More recent tastings of their reds have revealed some really good wines. The problem is the price point. They're cheaper than a lot of Napa wines, but not cheap.So people expecting to pay less than $20 are going to be really disappointed. Although you can get for $40 what would cost double that from CA, who pays that much in the US?

Reply by dmcker, Feb 19, 2017.

Duncan, wasn't talking about all Condrieu or Viognier. Just a lot that has been neglected by better winemakers, and what is produced often promises on the nose but goes flat and stunted on the palate leaving a headshaking response. Too often when I'm ready to try a new one and get a pour at a bistro or some such place the nose is sexy and uplifting but once again the follow does a faceplant. Not really competitive in current markets, which creates, I'm sure, a vicious cycle. Chateau Grillet was both unique and excellent back when I was drinking it, but that's been sometime, now, and thus my question about how it might be these days, in a very different marketplace.

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