Today, Wednesday, June 20, 2012, marks the 78th edition of Wine Blogging Wednesday — the (almost) monthly virtual wine gathering. This month’s theme of course is that beautiful, aromatic white from the Rhone — Viognier.
Viognier, which is the official Signature Grape of my home state of Virginia, happens to be one of my favorite varietals (an adjective by birth but because of chronic misuse is now generally accepted as one of them nouns ;) ) so there were no shortage of options for me for this month’s WBW.
Over the course of the last few weeks, I opened five different Virginia Viogniers and two from other regions in preparation for WBW78. Of five Virginia Viogniers we opened, two of my favorites were the Keswick Vineyards 2011 Les Vents d’Anges and the Chester Gap 2008 Viognier Reserve — an interesting contrast in styles and vintages.
The Keswick 2011 Les Vents d’Anges (~$20), pale gold in the glass with muted white flower, apple and peach aromas. The peach and apple flavors in the mouth were more lively but still short. This wine worked well as a pre-dinner sipper.
Though the Les Vents d’Anges is an nice Viognier considering 2011 was a challenging and soggy vintage here in Virginia, with 30+ straight days of rain in some areas beginning in late August as Hurricane Irene moved through the Commonwealth, I personally prefer the body and complexity of the Keswick Reserve Viognier (which we did open two weeks ago, but your correspondent failed to take a picture of before someone else residing in the same home dispatched the bottle to the recycle bin outside). Hat tip to winemaker Stephen Barnard for producing a nice wine in a troubled vintage.
The Chester Gap 2008 Viognier Reserve. Made by one of my favorite Virginia producers, this is one of the few oaked Virginia Viogniers that I really like. The juice spent eight months in barrel but the fruit and oak are perfectly integrated. If there were (or is) such a thing as a Werther’s Original peach cream candy, this is what it would smell and taste like. Delicious!
In the spirit of diversity, I opened Viogniers from points west and east as well. First I went westbound and planned to go with a Viognier from the Paso area, but ran across a bottle from the state of Washington (a first for me) in a wine shop in Washington, DC while I was on travel. I also reached across the Atlantic to the home of Viognier, the Condrieu region of France. Unfortunately the Condrieu was so over oaked — a $55 oakey peach kool-aid — devoting pixels and time to review seems a waste.
The Viognier from Washington — the Roots 2010 Viognier, Seven Hills Vineyard —— was a charming surprise and excellent value find at just $19. Christian Berg of Oregon-based Racine Wine Company produced this wine from fruit sourced from Seven Hills Vineyard in Walla Walla, Washington.
I consider the Roots Viognier a straightforward textbook example of Viognier — nice gold color in the glass, clean, with honeysuckle, white flower, and peach throughout, along with hints of mineral flavors. The mouth feel was comparable to that of a Werther’s Original hard candy in terms of the smooth, creamy texture.
This Viognier is an excellent value and paired nicely with a mild summer evening and a Bloomsday cheese, an unpasteurized cow’s milk from Cato Corner Farm in Colchester, Connecticut. If you’re a Viognier fan, you’ll love this wine — look for it on your next trip to your local wine shop.
Did you get your Viggy on for Wine Blogging Wednesday? Post a link to your post in the comments section here. Or,
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THANK YOU to everyone that participated — I will have a WBW78 recap post up this weekend!