Wine Talk

Snooth User: JonDerry

Viognier

Posted by JonDerry, Apr 8, 2017.

One of my few discoveries this year has been CA Viognier of all things.

As per usual, someone on WB posted the details of the latest Dirty & Rowdy release, and at first glance, it seemed like a release I wouldn't be interested in.

...then I got to remembering a 2014 Kamen Viognier that a friend opened recently (in India nonetheless), and how surprisingly good it was. It's a Sonoma Valley wine, super rare apparently, with an average CT value of $65.00

I'm not sure I've had a dry white wine as aromatically fleshy and pleasing as some CA varietal Viognier's. Along with the Kamen, I'm also remembering a Jaffurs Viognier had (on release) years back that was stunning on the nose. 

So yeah, really looking forward to this D&R Viognier. Seems like a bit of an epiphany wine on the production side here as well. 
Also has to be my favorite D&R label to date.

 

I ran a quick google search on the ageability of Viognier, which is most famous for the wines of Condrieu in France, and a helpful Jancis Robinson article came up, where she gives a nice run down of the grape. She asserts that dry Viognier is not a good bet for aging past a few years...I seem to agree with her findings, to the extent of my experience anyway.

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Replies

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Reply by Really Big Al, Apr 8, 2017.

In Virginia, the Viognier varietal is pretty popular.  I'm not a big fan though.  I prefer Sauvignon Blanc or Chardonnay.  That being said, this one is decent.  Back in 2014, we were down in southern Virginia tasting a few wines at Veritas and other wineries.  The Viognier at Veritas was decent too.

Come to think of it, we enjoyed a few Viognier wines earlier this year on a return trip to the Charlottesville area.  My forum posting documents the wineries we tasted at.

 

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Reply by rckr1951, Apr 8, 2017.

I like a good viognier and have been drinking them for quite awhile now. I like the French style, but Miner used to make a good one and Yalumba makes 3 that are progressing better as you up the price point scale.

I think that the best ones from France are priced accordingly - worth it - don't know haven't bought a really expensive one in years now.

As wine making continues to improve the mid-price offerings have improved dramatically so generally speaking I stay there.

Good thread JD.

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Reply by GregT, Apr 8, 2017.

The grape that promises the most and rarely delivers. That's what I used to think anyway. Then I had a few really nice ones from CA and started to change my mind. If it keeps its acidity, it's good stuff. Too many still don't though.

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Reply by JonDerry, Apr 8, 2017.

The low acidity is definitely the drawback, and why they're best young... no use aging them.

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Reply by vin0vin0, Apr 9, 2017.

JD, if you can find it around you get your hands on some Anglim viognier.  I know Napagirl will back me up on this as she's the one who suggested we visit there when we went to Paso in 2013. We enjoyed it so much we went back there last fall, purchased two different viogniers - one finished in stainless and the other that was aged on its lees.

We opened this Guigal Condrieu last night, must have had this post in the back of my mind.

The nose is very floral.  On the palate is honeysuckle and also some stone fruit flavors of ripe peach and a touch of ripe pear. This is lacking a bit of acidity. The finish is of medium length dominated by floral notes.  I thought it was fairly tasty but the CFO didn't care for this at all, said she was getting some funk out of it that was off-putting.

JD, if you can find it around you get your hands on some Anglim viognier.  I know Napagirl will back me up on this as she's the one who suggested we visit there when we went to Paso in 2013. We enjoyed it so much we went back there last fall, purchased two different viogniers - one finished in stainless and the other that was aged on its lees.

 
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Reply by JonDerry, Apr 9, 2017.

Nice VV,

I believe Guigal makes some single vineyard Condrieu as well, I guess the honus is on me to spring for one. Since I have the 16' D&R on the way and the Jaffurs is accessible I may do a tasting of some 16' Viogniers, I'll see if I can grab the Anglim. Not much hope of getting any more Kamen.

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Reply by MJET, Apr 9, 2017.

RBA-The next time your St. Francis club order comes up ask for a bottle of thier Viognier. We thought it was pretty good when we had it at the winery two years ago. They usually sell-out of it. 

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Reply by dmcker, Apr 9, 2017.

Grillet does age, JD. At least it used to--haven't had any for a few years now. All my viognier drinking has been French wines, starting in the late '70s, early '80s with vintages going back to the '60s. Grillet was pricey then, but not quite like now and well within reach. It was qualitatively in its own category, almost as much as, say, a d'Yquem or a Romanee Conti, though not quite that excessive.

Most of the Condrieu and other bottles then and later fell into Greg's category of promising loveliness on the nose, followed by a faceplant once it passed the lips. Thus over the past decade or two I've only had some when someone else chose and poured. Unfortunately haven't been in CA enough since the viognier renaissance you all seem to be describing. You should still make an effort to chase down the best French versions, I'd think, starting with Chateau G. You gotta love that it, like Romanée-ContiLa TâcheLa RomanéeClos de Tart, and Clos de la Coulée de Serrant, has its own AOC. And it's become yet another billionaire status symbol with the guy who owns Latour having bought it early this decade.

The nose and palate flavors I remember for Grillet were different from Condrieu. More apricot (always good for me, especially because it represents more acidic tartness) than pear, plenty of darker citrus, hints of violet and lavender, and more truffle than barnyard funk which I too often had to let blow off from the Condrieu back then, though the rest of the profile was flowery and pleasant. Winemaking is so much cleaner throughout the Rhone nowadays compared to then.

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Reply by Really Big Al, Apr 9, 2017.

MJET - Our St. Francis order has already shipped.  I'm not sure what is coming though, as Sandra gets their e-mails.  

Has anyone here tried a Viognier from Virginia?

 

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Reply by rckr1951, Apr 9, 2017.

Yes I have - it was a gift from a friend about 3-4 years ago and it was already 4 years old and had flattened out by then, but nothing since.  I didn't say anything to him except for "Thanks for the thought." and he never let me know how he liked it either.

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Reply by JonDerry, Apr 9, 2017.

I did drive by a bunch of vineyards from West Virginia back to Charlotte come to think. If I hadn't been trying to make a flight I'd have stopped, maybe next time I'll be able to and try some of their Viognier.

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Reply by JonDerry, Apr 10, 2017.

Thanks for the pointer on Grillet Dave, that seems like a pretty rare bird, even among wine geeks. Definitely agree that overall the grape promises much more on the nose than it can deliver on the palate, but there's room for a wine like that.

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Reply by dmcker, Apr 10, 2017.

There's too much group think and gathering around the known and popular campfires in wine geekery for my tastes. That's why I like Vino's 'something different' thread on these boards so much. Same old, same old within relatively narrow ranges can get stultifying, even if some of the landmarks within range are damned delicious. Variety definitely can add spice to life.

My guess is that on that drive from W.VA you'd be a lot more productive spending your time chasing down some hill-country white lightning than any ol' likely-lame local viognier. Unless, that is, you're just trying to catalog every single item of info about viognier any and everywhere, like an acquaintance of mine from back in the '70s who made a career of encyclopediaizing everything relating to soy beans and their products. At least he pretty much introduced tofu and miso and tempeh to Western palates.

In parallel you could chase down a small vertical of Chateau Grillet, with which to wow your drinking buddies. Always good to suss out the standard creators/bearers in any area, even specific wine grapes and styles. Learn how it's been done best then see what the other efforts are in context. 

Now let's see if anybody wants to compare my 3rd paragraph with my first.  ;-)

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Reply by outthere, Apr 10, 2017.

Count me in as one who has not had a Voignier epiphany. I've had some Condrieu's that were nice and aJemrose that tried to come close but for the most part nah. Tasted a load of Virginia Voignier a few years back and they did nothing for me. IMO it's best used a a blending wine to add florals to Syrah.

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Reply by rckr1951, Apr 10, 2017.

OT - With the exception of a few - totally agree.

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Reply by Richard Foxall, Apr 10, 2017.

I like that Jemrose, but Roar's Viognier from the Sierra Mar vineyard was even better. Less of that gluey thing that Viognier can get.  Still, for the $25 or so they discount it for, I've been fine with the Jemrose.  Most of it is pretty blah, IMO.  Best for fixing the color on your Syrah.

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Reply by JonDerry, Apr 10, 2017.

I've always thought of the Syrah/Viognier combo as uneccesary...it's no peanut butter and jelly anyway.

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Reply by Stephen Harvey, Apr 10, 2017.

JD

Not sure you are being fair on the Shiraz/Viognier Blend its a core for much of the great Cote Rotie Reds particularly the Guigals and we have some really good ones in Oz, including Clonakilla, Yalumba et al

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Reply by JonDerry, Apr 10, 2017.

Probably not, as I'm not much of a Syrah buff. However, to truly be fair I'd have to try the wines with and without the Viognier blended in. The blend has always irked me in a way, where I feel Syrah should be able to stand on its own, as it so often does. Though now that I've finally had some good Viognier I should go back and try it with Syrah again.

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Reply by dmcker, Apr 11, 2017.

JD, don't knock that co-fermentation, IMHO it really does add positive elements. Sounds like a good focus for an offline somewhere. Single-grape syrahs vs. those that are co-fermented with viognier. Three zones for focus: France, Oz and West Coast of North America. Historically I've also been of the school of thought that, other than in Chateau Grillet's bottlings, viognier's best use was spiffing up a syrah blend...  ;-)

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