Description 1 of 2


Name of varietal: Viognier
Common synonyms: Picotin Blanc, Bergeron, Barbin, Greffou, Rebolot, Vionnier, Petiti Vionnier, Viogne, Galopine, Vugava Bijela, 
Parentage of the grape: unknown
History of the grape: Viognier is thought to be an indigenous grape of Croatia that was brought to the Rhone in France by the Romans. A fun story that may or not be true is that it was intended for Burgundy, to Beaujolais, and was packaged with Syrah vines that were intercepted by the Medieval French equivalent of the Jesse James gang around Condrieu in Rhone and there it stayed. It likely got its name from the Roman outpost Vienne. It was once widely planted in France, but because it is tricky to grow, once Phylloxera struck, it was only replanted in a few places. Condrieu is the only Rhone appellation that is 100% Viognier. In other areas, besides rare varietal releases, small amounts of it are used as a blending component to red Syrah for body. It eventually made its way into the New World were it has become a popular varietal, particularly in California as part of the “Rhone Ranger” movement and Australia, where it is often produced in the Rhone style on its own and also blended with Syrah. 
Characteristics of the grape: light to medium-bodied, green and golden apple, fresh apricot, white peach, lemon, white flowers, white pepper. 
Regions where the grape is currently important: Condrieu and other parts of the Rhone and Languedoc in France, California, Oregon, Washington, New York, Australia, Argentina, Chile. 
Type or types of wines the grape produces: light to full-bodied dry white wines, red blends, late harvest, sparkling
– Description from Amanda Schuster

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Description 2 of 2

This special and exciting variety has taken California by storm and young plantings already demonstrate that this outstanding variety is too good to overlook. In California, it ranks with Cabernet as the most expensive crop, at $1,030 per ton, compared to Cabernet Sauvignon’s $1,048 per ton. The increasing acreage of Viognier in both California and France is due partly to the consumers' growing interest in such exotic wines, and also because of the isolation of less problematic clones.

Proper Viognier will seduce one’s senses. The moment the bottle is opened, it offers up an intense exotic perfume of mayflowers and tropical fruits. The palate is actually overwhelmed by its richness of body and flavor, which suggests a sweet wine, despite its usual complete dryness.

Less than a decade ago, this variety -- which shares vineyard space with the hardy Syrah grape in the northern Rhône -- was considered one of the wine world’s rarest, but most intriguing varieties. In fact, outside of the Rhône, Viognier was virtually unknown to the rest of the world’s vineyards. The variety has a notorious reputation for robbing vignerons of sleep. This is due to its tendencies for poor fruit set, low yields, proneness to disease, etc., which have given more than a few growers second thoughts about its cultivation.

Sometimes looks can be fact, they can be very deceiving! Ms. Viognier is arguably the most en-vogue white varietal tease show in California today. But less than a decade ago her only performances were in the small Northern Rhone appellations of Condrieu and Chateau Grillet. In broad-minded France, her act was always regarded as a stunning performance worthy of the top entertainment dollar. Unquestionably intoxicating in her beauty, Ms Viognier's frame isn’t weighty but, rather, seductively full in all the right places. She charms in floral dresses, a lively glow about her, and appears innocent and sweet to those who only know her by the scent of her perfume. However, be warned young vignerons should you wish to court this beautiful temptress...she is reluctant to bear fruit and did we mention, up close Ms Viognier reveals a distinctly dry masculine go ahead, be deceived! – Description from Appellation America (view original content)

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