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Viognier - the almost lost grape


A white grape known for aromatic, sone fruit flavors comes from the Northern Rhone area of France and is an ancient grape possibly originating in the Croatia area. Prior to the mid 1960s, it was a common wine grape. Around this time the grape almost became extinct with only around eight acres producing. This may have been due to the difficulty in growing this grape. It is prone to powdery mildew and is unpredictable as to yields. It is also very particular as to picking, too early and you don’t get the aromatics, too late and the wine is too oily. Viognier wines also hit a peak of production only after 15 to 20 years.


Nearly a decade later an Australian winegrower cultivated this near-extinct varietal, as did a few California winegrowers and the grape is now planted across the world again.

 

The virtual is characterized by rich stone fruit flavors, a honey like texture, with intense aromatics of herbal and floral fragrances of honeysuckle and elder flower. You should taste apricot and peach, as well as mango and pineapple and steel, with hints of vanilla, cloves and nutmeg with smooth and creamy notes. The finish is lengthy and fruity.  The wine is typically bone-dry or off-dry depending on how the winemaker handles the grape. Some allow the grape to ripen fully on the vine making a late-harvest wine.

 

This wine should be served around 50 to 52 degrees and can be decanted but for no more than 20 minutes before drinking.

 

This pairs wonderfully with chicken, low-fat pork, fruit, curry dishes, Thai and Indian foods, seafood, especially salmon. It also holds up to herbs such as dill, tarragon, lemon zest and lemongrass.

 

This is a superb white wine that is making a comeback because of the bold and complex wines being produced. Perfect for sipping on a spring evening or under the hot summer sun.

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