Happy Wine Wednesday! Hailing from the appellation of Condrieu in Northern Rhone, Viognier is a complex yet refined white grape. Also known for its fragrant perfumed bouquet, today’s wine from Domaine Massiac is simply magical!
Due to the threat of mildew and rot, Viognier can be difficult to manage. So much so that it nearly went extinct in the 1960s. The growing and harvesting requires extra care to elicit that sweet, exotic perfume. Proper drainage and cooling winds to keep the vines dry allow for strong but mostly small yields, which leads to the higher price of French Viognier.
Additionally, Viognier vines don’t hit their peak until they are at least 15-20 years of age, making some outside growers seem like newcomers to the process. The finest harvests continue to come from Condrieu, France but the Central Coast of California has produced some excellent (and less expensive) vintages and places like Chile, Argentina, New Zealand, Australia, South Africa and Washington State have nurtured some noteworthy offerings. And the state of Virginia has deemed it their state grape.
Domaine Massiac is a superior choice in French Viognier. The soft yellow glow and immediate floral perfume envelopes you. Delicate notes of honey, ripe pineapple and lemon add dimension to the complex scent. Crisp flavors of honey and citrus along with buttery tones linger on the palate. While delicate, the long finish lends effervescence to this well-rounded white wine.
Viognier is meant to be drunk early to keep that intense perfume fresh as its flavors and scents can mellow after two years. And at just $15, this is a steal for this kind of quality from France. Whether you choose a classic French Viognier or try a newer vintner from around the globe, Viognier is a fantastic alternative to Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc. Enjoy!