Viognier. It’s hard to pronounce and tough to figure out. Right? Well, no, it’s easy to pronounce [vee-yo-nyay] and fairly easy to figure out versions coming from the New World. Much of the confusion stems from our reluctance to learn about things we can’t pronounce. But seriously, one of the hurdles to understanding Viognier has been the fact that there are few Old Word examples to learn from.

Condrieu is an appellation in the northern Rhone famous for it’s Viognier, as is Chateau-Grillet, France’s smallest appellation and the only one dedicated to a single chateau. While each of these regions has a long history, the wines have always been rare and not inexpensive; and thus, few people have much experience with dry Viognier and in turn, there had been little interest in exploring the potential of the variety.

All that changed when Viognier hit the U.S. market. Not only did the peachy palate profile appeal to consumers, so did the price when the wines were produced in more forgiving regions.