Weekly Wine Quiz #69: Grape Trivia – Viognier
Welcome to the weekend and your new wine quiz!
We are continuing our grape trivia series, still focusing on the white grapes, and today’s subject is Viognier.
Talking about turbulent history here. Viognier is one of the oldest known white grapes in the world, with the first mentions attributed to the 280 AD. It is considered that Romans brought it to France from Croatia (of course the region was called differently in those times, but it is still geographically correct). Historically, Viognier wines were mostly made in the Northern Rhone region in France, and they were quite popular in the 1800. However, by the 1965, there were only 8 acres (!) planted in the world, producing minuscule amount of wine.
Viognier‘s renaissance started in 1980s, when the grape was brought into the United States and Australia. From that time on, the interest to the grape increased and even skyrocketed in the 21st century worldwide, with the plantings in France alone increasing 100-fold. Now Viognier is growing in pretty much every major winemaking country in the world, including Spain with some experimental plantings in Rioja area. In the United States alone, the grape is becoming more and more popular, and not only in California, but also in the states such as Texas and Virginia, producing very interesting wines (take a look at my notes from Viognier tasting in Texas).
Viognier at its best produces wines with very perfumy, floral nose, which are firm, structured and full bodied on the palate, with peach and apricot flavors often being most noticeable. The challenge of Viognier lies in the fact that the grape is naturally low in acidity, so if it is not ripen properly, it will produce sweet and not very drinkable plonk. One of the reason for Viognier to do much better nowadays is greatly improved winegrowing and winemaking techniques, which allow to produce great tasting wines more consistently.
And now, to the quiz!
Q1: Viognier stands pretty unique among all white grapes as it is often added or can be added as blending component during the production of the red wines around the world. Do you know the name of the red grape it typically accompanies?
Q2: Name the source of essentially the best and most long-living Viognier wines in the world
Q3: Viognier became so popular in the United States, that one of the states even called it “an official grape of the state”. Do you know which state it is?
b. New York
Q4: Wine Spectator calls wines rated in 95-100 range Classic (the highest and the most prestigious category). True or False: there are no Viognier wines with Classic rating
Q5: Based on DNA research, Viognier has an unlikely cousin in Italy, which is not even the white grape, but red. Can you name that “cousin”?
Good luck, enjoy the quiz and your weekend! Cheers!