Wine Talk

Snooth User: jamessulis

Viognier Virgin

Posted by jamessulis, May 8, 2010.

OK, tasted my first Viognier and was sort of miffed, a bit confused and finally I think I like it.

I've been testing my taster and found out that I believe it is one step short of Excellent. I tasted minerals, pineapple and a citrus flavor.  The flavors were long lasting and I've become semi-hooked on a white wine, I would purchase another.  Any suggestions for a fine Viognier that is not too awful spendy (I consider spendy over 25 dollars a bottle). Being as I allow myself wine on the weekends due to my weekly workload and thus with one medium glass I acquired a slight buzz which I can describe as pleasant and happy.  One half hour after this wine, I can still taste the flavor and it wasn't a dynamic wine (was purchased through a wine club I used to belong to) and hovered in the vicinity of 12 dollars a bottle which included shipping.  Any comments would be enjoyable.

Winefully yours,

Lefty - The Great Pacific Northwest


Reply by GregT, May 8, 2010.

James - your first line is just about perfect as far as viognier goes.  Sort of miffed, a bit confused, and finally kind of like it.  That's the best description ever!

Viognier always seems to promise a lot - it's got great aromatics.  Then it never quite delivers.  You just about think you're going to really like it but you're always left a little surprised because it's slightly disappointing.  And then in the end, it's not a bad wine after all most of the time, just doesn't deliver on its promise. 

At least that's how it is for me and it doesn't matter if it's a viognier from France, Spain, California or Hungary - it's pretty much the same.  Nice enough, but there's no passion.

In Santa Barbara, Fess Parker made a pretty decent one - you might want to try that.  I think it was around $20 or so.  You can buy an expensive one from the N Rhone, but get a red instead.


Reply by napagirl68, May 12, 2010.

I LOVE good Viognier!  In general, my favorite regions are Paso Robles and Amador county (both California).  Paso is doing a lot of great Rhone varietals, and there are several wineries that produce outstanding viogniers.  I also like some of the Amador viogniers, but some are too sweet for me.

But my current fav is out of Livermore, CA-  Thomas Coyne's 2008 Viognier.  Here are the notes from



2008 Viognier, California - $18.50

Gold Medal - Orange County Fair, Silver Medal - El Dorado County Fair

The grapes for this wine come from a small vineyard on the banks of the Mokelumne River. The grapes were pressed, barrel fermented and aged "surlie" for five months in French oak barrels. The wine exhibits a peach and honeysuckle character.

Off topic- I also love his Grenache- really wonderful (this is the RED grenache not white):



2006 Grenache, Livermore - $18.00

Silver Medal - Orange County Fair, Bronze Medal - El Dorado County Fair

One of the major grapes grown in the Rhone Valley of Southern France. These are from a small vineyard in Livermore. The wine was barrel-aged in French and American oak barrels for sixteen months and exhibits intense fruitiness with a hint of oak.

Reply by Charles Emilio, May 13, 2010.

I find Viognier hard to match up with food for some reason.

My favourite Rhone variety and also favourite White variety is Marsanne. I just love it.

Reply by mdion99, May 13, 2010.

Since returning from Argentina, my wife a I have fallen for a Viognier from LaGarde, Altas Cumbres.  About $11 bucks.  We bought a case and have shared with freinds.

Reply by Matchupichu, Jun 5, 2010.

Eberle's Viognier from Paso Robles is also amazing, I think Grey Wolf makes a Viognier as well- also from Paso.

Reply by jessedylan, Jun 5, 2010.

Washington has been releasing some good Viogniers of late as well, although I've yet to find one I like more than Maryhill's, which you can get for $11-14 a bottle. I've done several blind tastings where it wins out over other bottles twice the cost.

Reply by Andrew46, Jun 6, 2010.

As stated by Charles Emilio, "I find Viognier hard to match up with food for some reason."  For me, the reason is that most are low acid for white wines.  As result, all but the lightest of foods flatten them.  Why I usually prefer a bright sauv. blanc with food.

Reply by John Andrews, Jun 6, 2010.

Viognier is on a bit of a upswing here in California but is still pretty tough to find.  I would recommend trying some Rhone whites (which you can get pretty cheap) that are excellent blends of Viognier.  

Reply by TL NJ, Jun 6, 2010.

"Lefty" - Im with you (and seems like others) on the Viognier dilemna. It seems to me to be one of those grapes that has such a wide spectrum from dry to sweet - the variation from location to location, year to year - its a tough one to pin down.

I've had some viogniers where I would swear it would become my white of choice, only to be heartbroken by the next one I have. Its interesting enough to keep me coming back - I've had some that I really enjoy.

I cant speak too much about Rhone Viogniers (where Im told its at its "best"). I have quite a few from the US again with some mixed results.

The "rule of thumb" that has worked for me - is that most wineries that really take their Syrah's seriously seem to have good Viogniers (could be that old "Rhone Raider" mentality, or perhaps the fact that they will blend the two). I've been fortunate to tour through California's Central Coast on a few occasions, and really liked what I tasted there (someone previously mentioned Fess Parker - I would completely agree with that - $20 or under as well).

While California Viogniers have given me mixed emotions, I have to say that I have been quite pleased with the Viogniers I've had from your own backyard in Washington  -  Waterbrook and McCrea are two of my favorite Viogniers overall - both within your price range.

From Califonia - once again, Fess is a good one - and I also liked (in the $25 and under range) - McManis, Rosenblum and Benzinger (in that order).

However, I am extremely curious to know the Viognier that you had in your story above. It seems like you had a really good experience and I would be eager to give whatever you had a try.


Reply by jamessulis, Jun 6, 2010.

OMG, didn't keep a record of the Viognier that I consumed......rackin my brain and it comes up flatline.  I believe it was a wine someone brought over and thats probably why I don't remember the purchase.


Lefty - The Great Pacific Northwest

Reply by StevenBabb, Jun 7, 2010.

i would have to second the Rosenblum recomendation... everything they make is pretty good though...

for viognier, you can never go wrong with anything from paso robles...

if you're ever in san francisco, there are huge wine tasting sporadically through out the year, and one of them is called Rhone Rangers. i was able to attend this year and it was absolutely amazing.... great wineries were represented.... lots of good viognier... worth checking out sometime....

Reply by jamessulis, Jun 7, 2010.

OK thanks Steven,

I will keep paso robles in my wine mental category and when I do purchase and taste, I'll keep you posted.

Thank you for your valuable opinion

Lefty - The Great Pacific Northwest

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