Explore Viognier if you like bolder Chardonnay. You can expect it to be slightly softer in acidity, lighter and more perfumed. Off dry styles will bring out the peach & honeysuckle notes in viognier
Loved for its aromatics of peach, tangerine and honeysuckle, Viognier is a full-bodied white wine that originated in the French Rhone. It often can be oak aged to give it a rich creamy taste, and is know to have an oily/waxy texture when oaked. Otherwise, it has a lightness to it & maintains its acidity, with a touch of bitterness.
Try it with a Thai Basil Chicken, or scallops! It goes beautifully with delicate meats as well, especially those made with Tarragon
If you love the floral notes of Viogner definitely seek out dry Moscatel from Portugal, Torrontés from Argentina and dry styles of Müller Thurgau.
If you love the richness of a creamy oaked Viognier, you’ll also be keen on oak-aged versions of Marsanne, Roussanne, Trebbiano (from Italy!) and Chardonnay.
Rapidly growing in popularity in California, Australia, South Africa and beyond, Viognier grows best in sunny regions with moderated temperatures. As such, you often find it near large bodies of water, or regions with cool nights.
Rhone Valley, France
Viognier from Rhone Valley is shrouded a lot by the fame of Syrah, but it's managed to find sites within the valley which allows Viognier to ripen fully & expose it's distinctive aromas without sacrificing freshness & acidity.
It's had it's fair share of challenges; from Viognier being a disease prone grape, to late harvest style Viognier falling out of fashion after the Second World War, it's saving grace was a small but loyal fanbase which eventually kickstarted a renewal of interest in the grape, especially when it started being grown in other countries.
Condrieu is commonly known as the hometown of Viognier. This appellation or region in Rhone Valley exclusively grows only Viognier. Cote-Rotie produces mostly Syrah, but also produces about 20% Viognier, and Château-Grillet is a single winery, and produces Viognier exclusively.
Paso Robles, Central and North Coast of CaliforniaCalifornia is the most successful producer outside of France. It's the most widely planted Rhone Valley varietal planted in California, and excels particularly in Paso Robles, with Vina Robles, Stefano Vineyard & Tablas Creek being some of the biggest single Varietal Viognier producers in California. Due to the high sun exposure in California, Viognier here has a rich, oily texture, and it's stonefruit aromas stand out.
Oregon, USAWhile Chardonnay is the dominant white grape grown, Southern Oregon has a beautiful climate that works for Viognier, and has built up a reputation to be one of the region's signature white grape varietals. Unlike the rich, heavy Californian styles, Viognier from Oregon typically expresses crisp acidity & minerality, with an exotic spice note, making it a refreshing & floral driven wine.
Stellenbosch, Franshhoek and Elgin in South AfricaCharles Back was the first to bring Viognier to South Africa, and the largest production of Viognier can be found in Paarl. Swartland & Stellenbosch are other big regions producing Viognier. The sloped hills & cool nights in this region are very supportive of production of Viognier, retaining the profile of Rhone Valley with slightly heavier body & texture
Eden Valley (Barossa) and Adelaide Hills, South Australia
Australian Viognier is heavily perfumed, bringing both elegance & power to the forefront. It's produced in a variety of styles, from both oaked, unoaked, single varietals, and blends. An interesting blend is a Viognier-Shiraz blend.