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The Beginner’s Guide to Viognier

The Beginner’s Guide to Viognier

The Beginner's Guide to Viognier

The Beginner’s Guide to Viognier


The Beginner’s Guide to Viognier


Viognier is a lovely, perfumed white grape that originally comes from the Rhone Valley in France. It is famous for being responsible for the wines of Condrieu. It’s an ancient grape that some experts believe date back to the times of Romans.


Not too long ago that Viognier was on the verge of extinction. Only a handful of hectares were planted worldwide. As a rather challenging grape to grow especially given that it’s prone to disease, perhaps it’s not a surprise. Fortunately for all of us who love this noble grape, one winemaker by the name of Georges Vernay (who sadly passed away earlier this year), went on a mission to revive the grape. Condrieu wouldn’t be what it is today without his efforts. In the Rhone, Viognier is sometimes blended with Syrah to add floral aromas and improve the colour of the wine.


Today, Viognier is found all across the winemaking world. California and Virginia, South Africa, Australia (try Yalumba Y Series) and even Argentina all make wines from Viognier. But France is still its home and this is where you’ll find some of the world’s finest and most expensive examples. Look to Condrieu – this is easily the best Viognier you’ll find.


It’s beautifully aromatic, smelling of stone fruits, marmalade, white flowers and occasionally, tropical fruits. You can find both oaked and unoaked versions of Viognier. The richer styles are brilliant with roasted chicken, decadent seafood dishes like lobster or crab or food with cream sauces. There is a slight rather subtle bitterness to Viognier, but this just adds to the overall complexity of the wines.


Want to try Viognier? Domaine Georges Vernay is the gold standard but other excellent examples are made by Alban (California), E. Guigal (France) and Chapoutier (France) – be sure to try one or all of these fantastic wines next time you’re dining out. Check your favourite wine app to see which restaurants carry them!


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