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All About Viognier


Viognier. German opera composer? Power painter? My spell check doesn’t recognize it; no one knows how to pronounce it, what the h@#%? This beauty of a grape from the Northern Rhone Valley in France is a showstopper. If it were an actress, it would be Marilyn Monroe. Beautiful blond locks, smelling of a meadow filled with the most delicate of white flowers, kisses of super ripe peaches, and a body that just won’t stop oozing sex and sensuality.


Where does the comparison between silver screen starlet and wine stop? Who knows as that description covers both. Originally, Viognier was used only in wines labeled Condrieu, a small region in France. So small that in 1965 it was down to only around 20 acres of this beautiful grape. Luckily for us, Josh Jenson of Calera vineyards realized the inherent grace of this wine and decided to plant some in his mountain-top vineyard. This led to the current total of around 2100 acres planted in California and around 1700 acres in Australia.


If one wants an easy life as a grape grower, Viognier is not the best choice. Its delicate flowers are prone to dropping off before they are pollinated, resulting in small and, sometimes, non-existent crops. Not great for your billfold if you are counting on selling grapes. Once you try to make wine out of it, it gets even harder. Picking too early and you get no pretty fruit and flowers, too late and the wine tastes like rotting peaches with no zip. Sounds like fun, huh? The best part is that Viognier only reveals its true self when yields (the amount picked per acre) are really low.


So, you can only plant a little bit of this grape on your land. It may or may not produce grapes and if you don’t pick it at exactly the right time, it is ruined. This all explains why Viognier based wines can be some of the most expensive, early drinking wines out there. Thank goodness that there are pockets of success throughout the world where we can get some of this nectar at reasonable prices.


Be sure and stop in and check out these great examples of this sexy wine:


WineGlory Days Viognier, Lodi, California - Big peach and apricot flavors mixed with citrus and floral notes. This wine is a powerhouse of flavor and is semi-dry so it will make an excellent match with flavorful spicy dishes. Only 8.99!!!






Yalumba Viognier - Straight away, it smacks you upside the head with dried apricots. Once you’ve had time to recover from that you’ll find tinned pineapple, ginger sweets, honeysuckle and canned peaches sprinkled with nutmeg. Great medium+ bodied quaff. Only 10.99!!!



Sales prices good through 1/18/12 while supplies last.

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