Western Living Magazine
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But please know that this is the exception
Gang, I’m really so-so on Viognier as a grape. I frequently find it cloying, I don’t love honeysuckle and often find it lacking in acidity. So let’s get that not-insignificant palate prejudice out of the way and talk about the exceptions to this rule.
Chief among them is Condrieu, the tiny Northern Rhone region (it’s 202 hectares in total) where they focus of making the finest wine from Viognier in the world. The results are pretty special with a rich texture that can rival White Burgundy and a subtlety to the aromatics that’s intoxicating. But the cheapest Condrieu in BC right now is $130, and again with the full disclosure, I can think of 100 white wines I’d rather spend $130 on (but if you’re buying, I’m in).
But the second exception is the sweet spot. It’s not really breaking news that Australia’s Yalumba is adept with Viognier. They’ve were among the first to plant the grape back in 1980 and it’s always been the white complement to their impressive Barossa reds. They make a range of Viognier-based wines and my guess is that their pricey flagshipThe Virgilusprobably approached Condrieu-like greatness. But I love their entry-level winethe widely available Y-Seriesprecisely because it doesn’t strive for that Rhone-level concentration. Instead it takes a lighter approachyou get ripe peach but not a full slap of it. Ditto apricot. And even the honeysuckle is more a whiff than a spray. And as a result, its acidity can shine through, and it gives the wine a lovely balance while still being true to the variety. A real winner here.
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