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Announcing Wine Blogging Wednesday 78 – Get Yo Viggy On!

About this time last year — as Virginia was preparing to host the 2011 Wine Bloggers Conference in Charlottesville — the Marketing Office of the Virginia Wine Board hosted a number of virtual Twitter tastings to increase awareness of Virginia wine.  One of these virtual Twitter tastings focused on Virginia’s Signature Grape — Viognier.

It was, I believe, during this Virtual Virginia Viognier tasting that Wine Blogging Wednesday (WBW) founder Len Thompson used the word ‘viggy’ to refer to Viognier.  Many of us here in Virginia have since adopted the casual use of viggy when referring to Viognier, and at some point I will likely take credit for the creation of term if it continues to catch on.

Until then, I’ll be getting my viggy on now to Wednesday, June 20th and I would like to invite you to join me.  I’m delighted to announce that I am hosting Wine Blogging Wednesday #78 on Wednesday, June 20th.  WBW78 will mark my second time hosting this monthly virtual wine event.  Our theme for this month will be a grape that is near and dear to my palate — Viognier.

Though Viognier is best known as the only permitted grape in the French wine region of Condrieu in the northern Rhone, this floral and peachy grape is grown throughout the world and thrives in many states here in the U.S., especially here in my home state of Virginia.

Ok, so here’s how to get your viggy on

  • Get your hands on a bottle of Viognier, open, drink and share your thoughts via the interwebs.
  • Extra credit will be given for procuring and opening two or more bottles of Viognier.  And, extra extra credit may be given if you share the story behind the wine as well.
  • On Wednesday, June 20th, leave a comment here on DrinkWhatYouLike.com, with a link to your WBW78 Viggy blog.
  • Or, follow Drink What You Like on Facebook and leave a comment or link to your post on my wall on June 20th.
  • Or, follow me on Twitter and tweet me your link on June 20th.  Be sure to use the #WBW78 hashtag.

Some time around Saturday, June 22nd, I will post a recap with links to everyone’s Wine Blogging Wednesday Viognier contribution.

Below are a few general bits of information that may prove valuable if you are ever encounter an Obscure Facts About Viognier category on Jeopardy, or if you find yourself playing Wineopoly.

General Viognier Facts:

  • There are approximately 427 different ways to pronounce Viognier, but the generally accepted pronunciation is — ‘vee-ohn-yay’  (I may have made that first stat up)
  • Cheeses that pair well with Viognier:  Nancy’s Camembert from Old Chatham Sheepherding in New York, French Epoisse, and a Grayson from right here in Virginia.
  • In the 1960′s, Viognier was nearly extinct with only eight acres planted in the Northern Rhone (via Wikipedia) and about 80 acres throughout the world (via Jancis Robinson).
  • Viognier is the most-planted white Rhone varietal in the United States
  • Viognier wines are known for their notable floral aromas, which is due to terpenes (a class of organic compounds) that are also found in Muscat and Riesling.
  • Viognier is sometimes used as a blending grape in red wines, especially with Syrah — or, Shiraz as it’s commonly referred to in that southern and eastern hemisphere — to soften the edges and add complexity (though I personally question how much complexity a dolop adds).  Jordan Harris, winemaker at Tarara Winery in Virginia adds, ‘the high phenolic load of Viognier which helps to stabilize the color for long term in Syrah.’
  • Viognier is particularly susceptible to powdery mildew.
  • Viognier ripens early.
  • Based on DNA research at UC Davis, the Viognier grape is closely related to Freisa grape (red grape variety grown in the Piedmont region of Italy) and is a genetic cousin of Nebbiolo.
  • In my opinion, Viognier tends to pair quite well with spicy Thai food! Many will disagree with this pairing, but I’m sure those same people have been wrong about other things as well.

You have two weeks to get your viggy on…