Hester Creek Syrah Viognier 2017 $26
Ah viognier, you elusive little troublemaker. At your greatest you’re an intoxicating blend of peaches, almonds and white flowers, but in the new world capturing that magic is often…elusive. For every local bottle of viognier that channels some of that old world oomph there are 3 that taste listless and watery, the mere echo of a great wine diluted into meh. But that doesn’t mean you don’t have a role to play. Like an oenological Paul Giammati your success requires you to step away from top billing and wow us in a supporting role—in this case giving some manners to boisterous syrah. The idea is also borrowed from the Rhone Valley’s Cote Rotie, but BC winemaker’s have embraced it with great success. Laughing Stock, Poplar Grove and Vanessa Vineyards all add a soupcon of the white grape to their syrahs, but it’s Hester Creek that turns it up to 11—by law to put Viognier on the label it has to have at least 15% of the grape, so they’ve really pushed the envelope here. The result though doesn’t feel excessive—the wallop of the smoky syrah is tamed and focused by the floral elegance of the viognier and the result is like Simon & Garfunkel. Not equals by any stretch (sorry, Arthur) but a wonderful union nonetheless.