Wine Life

Let’s Pull The Cork On Viognier

It’s no secret that I am on a hunt this summer. For white wine.

I’ve been looking for a white wine that I can call my own.

As a serious dry-red wine stan, I’ve been feeling as though I am missing out on the refreshing crispness that is often associated with white wine in the summer months.

So I am making it my mission to find one I like.

See how realistic I am?

I said like, not love.

Because let’s not get ridiculous here.

Rather than go the easy route (and order from my own exclusive access to wine), I thought I’d do the old school trial-and-error search. I’ve been to nearly every wine shop in a 5 mile radius and Total Wine a few times.

Turns out trial-and-error can be exhausting.

**side note, this is actually a good time for a commercial**

“Tired of the trial-and-error?”

“Tired of ending up with bottles that aren’t even close to being what you wanted?”

Find yourself a wine concierge!!

*now visualize my face*

Anyway. I was talking to an acquaintance of mine – who just so happens to be a somm here in DC – and he asked me if I had tried Viognier.

Nope. Never even heard of it.

He explained to me that it’s somewhat of a hidden/not talked about gem of the white wine world.

My interest was peaked.

So here’s what I know.
Learn with me here.

So in 1960, there was roughly only 35 acres left in the world of this viognier grape stuff.

And almost all of the it was grown in Rhone Valley, France.

In 1970, California and Australia jumped on board and began producing a special variety of Viognier.

Thus creating a new buzz for wine drinkers to attach to.

But why was there so little beforehand?

Well. Apparently this lil sticky grape is quite the pain in the rear to cultivate.
Because of that it’s not exactly reliable.

These thick-skinned grapes like lots of sun so they can produce copious amounts of sugar.

But they don’t exactly like too much heat because then they’re too tipsy and overzealous.

(Know anybody like that?)

Also. They would prefer it to cool down at night.

And live by the water.

So not high maintenance at all…. I mean unless you live in Rhone Valley or North Coast California.

And yes, of course I said that because they are two of the top producers – next to Australia of course.

Anywho. This also leads to a late harvest.

The viognier grapes are left on the vine for a long time so they can fully develop the aromas they have become famous for.

So that’s the backstory on this grape.

Now, the important stuff.

Learn more at Wine Folly!

Pronunciation: Vee-own-yay

Aromas: Peach, Tangerine, Honeysuckle

Mostly grown in France, US, Australia

High Fruit – Medium Body – Low acidity

13% – 15% acv

Dry (in an off-dry manner) with the weight of Chardonnay.

But lighter in taste and more perfume than Chardonnay.

If you want a lighter wine go for 14% acv.

If you want a bolder wine for for above 14% acv.

Want a richer wine – go for new oak.

Want a floral and more tropical wine – go for neutral.

Price range is $17-$40 usually.


Stay away from food that is too bold.

Go for:

Roast chicken, turkey, pork chop

Fish and seafood

Fondue, Gruyere

Green garlic, onion

Orange and lemon zest seasoning

Sage and ginger flavors

Boom. We came. We learned. (If you want to learn more go here!)

Now go find some Viognier and celebrate.


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