Characteristics Makes aromatic, floral white wines. The colour and the aroma of the wine suggest a sweet wine, but Viognier wines are predominantly dry. Most are intended to be consumed young. Some, especially those from old vines and the late-harvest wines, are suitable for aging.
Secondary aromas Malolactic: butter, cream. Oak (light): vanilla, sweet wood. Oak (heavy): oak, smoke, toast.
Food matching The highly aromatic and fruit forward nature of the grape allows Viognier to pair well with spicy foods such as Thai cuisine.
Today’s Viogniers Chile – Colchagua Valley South Africa - Robertson, Western Cape South Australia - McLaren Vale South Australia - Eden Valley France - Coteaux de l’Ardèche France – Condrieu South Australia - Wrattenbully
1. Cono Sur Bicycle Viognier 2010 Colchagua Valley, Central Chile Cool nights and foggy mornings Hand picked April 2010 Ageing: 8 months - 5% in oak barrels; 95% in stainless steel Bottled December 2010
1. Cono Sur Bicycle Viognier 2010 Appearance: Medium golden colour characteristic of this variety. Nose: Sweet fruity notes of apricots, citrus and peaches combine with pleasant oak aromas. Taste: Fresh and lively in mouth with concentrated stone fruits; fresh tasty, full and savoury. Residual sugar: 7.5g/l (Off-dry)
Back from verge of extinction! By 1965, only about 30 acres of Viognier vines remained in France, and the variety was nearly extinct Viognier has been planted much more extensively around the world since the early 1990s, notably in: California Chile Argentina Australia
France Chateau Grillet and Condrieu appellations in Nth Rhone. Basically Syrah red wine territory!
2. Graham Beck Viognier 2009 From Robertson vineyards in Western Cape Hand-picked and hand-selected grapes 20% fermented in oak; 80% in stainless steel
2. Graham Beck Viognier 2009 Appearance: A hue of fresh baled straw with green apple highlights Nose: Rich with peaches, pears and honeysuckle. Taste: Tinned pears supported by nougat nuttiness on the palate. Crisp apple acidity with orange rind, peaches and apricot complete the circle for a long lingering finish. Residual sugar: 3.16 g/l (Dry-very dry)
Viognier in Australia The original vine source material was imported into Australia from Montpellier in 1968 and in 1980 Yalumba planted 1.2 hectares on a vineyard in Eden Valley, marking the first significant planting of the variety in Australia. The slightly elevated slopes of Eden Valley, overlooking the Barossa, were considered an ideal site. At the time Viognier was virtually unknown outside France.
Yalumba In the late 1990s Yalumba collaborated with other great Viognier makers around the world and took cuttings from their best vines to begin a clonal development program at the Yalumba Vine Nursery. These vines, from California and the Northern Rhone appellations of Condrieu and Cote Rotie, have produced their first wines with the 2007 vintage. Yalumba has the most significant Viognier clonal resource in the Southern Hemisphere and has earned a reputation as a pioneer and specialist producer, with Viognier wines featuring throughout the Yalumba portfolio.
Yalumba Yalumba makes four Viognier wines: 1. The fresh and citrusy Y Series Viognier. 2. The Eden Valley Viognier which is made in an up-front style with immediate varietal expression. 3. The Virgilius is Yalumbas super Viognier, a benchmark wine utilizing grapes from the older vines with the ability to benefit from some bottle maturation. 4. Yalumba Hand Picked Botrytis Viognier combines the intense flavours of Viognier with the richness of botrytis.
3. Hastwell & Lightfoot Viognier,2010 McLaren Vale, South Australia. Hastwell & Lightfoot families in 1988 converted a from bare paddock to a 13 acre planted, trellised and irrigated vineyard. 1990 total crop was 3/4 tonne of Cabernet Sauvignon. Presently, 43 acres of vineyard planted with Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Shiraz, Tempranillo, Barbera, Chardonnay and Viognier.
3. Hastwell & Lightfoot Viognier, 2010 Appearance: Brilliant deep straw with green hues. Nose: Fresh lemon & lime fruit aromas with slight hint of dried apricots in the background. Taste: A sophisticated flavour profile of fresh citrus in the foreground, leading to slightly more developed honey-like characters with hints of vanillin oak in the mid palate which then transpose into very long lasting flavours of dried apricot and pears. Residual sugar: ???
4. Yalumba Eden Valley Viognier2009 Slightly elevated slopes of Eden Valley were considered the ideal site for planting Viognier becoming Australia’s first significant Viognier vineyard. 60% fermented & matured for 10 months in older French oak barriques; 40% in stainless steel.
4. Yalumba Eden Valley Viognier2009 Appearance: Nose: Perfumed and luscious. Pure aromas of apricot nectar, lifted honeysuckle and orange oil perfume. Taste: Long, rich and luscious, with intense stone fruit - particularly apricots - finishing with an aromatic citrus freshness. It will continue to grow and develop in the bottle firstly showing enhanced apricots and spice, then after a couple of years developing honey flavours and toast. Residual sugar 0.8 g/L (Very dry)
5. M. Chapoutier Mirabel Viognier de lArdèche 2010 Chapoutier: A big name in Rhone wines, red & white, since 1808. Family-owned operation. Since 1995 Chapoutier have developed new plantings in the Ardeche foothills, mineral-rich rich volcanic soils. Vin de Pays appellation – Coteaux de l’Ardeche. Not so far from Condrieu and River Rhone.
5. M. Chapoutier Mirabel Viognier de lArdèche 2010 Appearance: Yellow-green Nose: Fine apricot, pear and orange marmalade. Taste: Honey, buttered toast, a hint of minerals and ripe yellow fruit on the nose and the palate, refreshing acidity, good balance, but quite ripe (slight hint of botrytis?); a touch of bitterness in the aftertaste. Residual sugar: ??
5. M. Chapoutier Mirabel Viognierde lArdèche 2010 A critic’s view: Rich, overblown style, with very ripe peach and apricot characters, an exotic floral/nutty edge and a whack of buttery malolactic character. Can’t fault the intensity, but even though it does slightly calm down with time, it’s still just too big for its own boots, with the alcohol showing on the finish.’
6. M. Chapoutier Invitare AOCCondrieu 2009 A classic Condrieu, the top of the range. !00% Viognier Hand-picked on steep SE-facing slopes above the Rhone, near Vienne. Part-ageing in oak casks The ageing is short, about 8 months, on lees in order to preserve the freshness and the varietal character of the grape variety. Wine Circle will be visiting Chapoutier’s main Winery in Tain l’Hermitage in August.
6. M. Chapoutier Invitare AOCCondrieu 2009 Appearance: Deep gold, golden yellow with a greenish tint. Nose: Very fruity, exotic fruit (pineapple, lychee) and acacia flower and a hint of smoke brought by the oak. Taste: Very well balanced, full, with minerality and freshness which give a great elegance to this wine. Residual sugar: ??
Michel Chapoutier’s tips Aperitif. Soft goats cheese Goes perfectly with oriental and Asian food... but is very pleasant on its own!
7. Yalumba Handpicked FSW8BBotrytis Viognier 2009 During Autumn in Wrattonbully, fruit has ripened naturally with high sugar and flavours from the warm Summer. Then dewy mornings and sunny days initiate and sustain the growth of the Botrytis fungus to create the golden nectar that becomes FSW8B. Botrytis metabolises in the berries desiccating them, increasing the sugar concentration and contributing its unique flavour.
Wrattonbully In Limestone Coast wine region of South Australia, close to Coonawarra. Cool maritime climate like Bordeaux. For sweet wines - autumnal morning fogs followed by sunshine promote growth of Botrytis. Many good Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Shiraz. The next popular name in Australia?
7. Yalumba Handpicked FSW8BBotrytis Viognier 2009 Appearance: Golden Nose: Taste: Opulent flavours of apricots, peaches and spice. Exotic, luscious, long and elegant, this is an experience to be shared. Residual sugar 161 g/L (Dessert wine)
Today’s wines1. Cono Sur (Bicycle) Viognier 2010 , Chile £7.35 W2. Graham Beck Viognier 2009, Sth Africa £9.95 S3. Hastwell & Lightfoot Viognier, 2010, McLaren Vale £19.50 OZ4. Yalumba Eden Valley Viognier 2009 £12.10 S5. M. Chapoutier Mirabel Viognier de lArdèche 2010 £13.50 S6. M.Chapoutier Invitare Condrieu AOC, 2009 £34.00 *7. Yalumba Handpicked FSW8B Botrytis Viognier 2009 £11.95 S * Majestic S Slurp.co.uk w Waitrose OZ OZ Wines
Best value Which of today’s range offers best value?
Blind tasting Using WSET Systematic Approach to Tasting Wine®, analyse the unknown red wine. Have a go at each element of the profile. Not interested in precise identification, rather general properties. Work in pairs. Up to 15 minutes.
Blind tasting A mature red wine that needs to be drunk up now. Complex, aromatic nose: vegetal and maturity elements dominate: some fruit – plums..... Balanced tannin/acid/fruit. Complex flavours, including: Fruit – blackcurrants, red berries, plums Oak Tertiary: herbs, spices (black peppers), wood, tobacco, leather A quality Old World blend (Claret?), past its best
Chateau Gloria, St Julien A Cru bourgeois from the St Julien appellation of the Haut Medoc – left bank downstream from Bordeaux. The vineyards of Château Gloria are about 48 hectares in all, with a fairly typical left bank planting scheme: Cabernet Sauvignon (65%) Merlot (25%) 5% each of Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot.
Chateau Gloria 2001: the critics ‘Closed on the nose. Full, sweet, less impact than the 2000. Doesnt have the same texture. Plenty of tannin though. Showing very little on this tasting but has potential. Needs six years. 15+/20.‘ [May 2004] ‘Garnet appearing at the rim. Mineral driven kirsch, cedar and tobacco aromas. Starting to age on the nose. Fresh acid of a cooler vintage, fully integrated tannins, Black cherry and leather upfront transition to some mocha notes on the medium length finish. Real solid wine. Light weight but packing enough punch to satisfy.’ [7/4/2009]
Chateau Gloria 2001: the critics ‘Nice fruit (blueberry, blackberry), graphite, slight cedar, slight earth/ tobacco/ leather. Well integrated with nice acidity. Nice finish. Popped & poured but seemed to need an hour or so to open. Really enjoyable.’ [22/9/2011] ‘Really enjoyed this. Drinking great right now. Thought this would be past its prime but its just beginning.’ [19/4/2012]