Home > Grapes, Viognier, wine quiz > Weekly Wine Quiz #69: Grape Trivia – Viognier

Weekly Wine Quiz #69: Grape Trivia – Viognier

California Viognier grapes, as shown in Wilipedia

California Viognier grapes, as shown in Wikipedia

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?

a. California

b. New York

c. Texas

d. Virginia

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!

  1. August 10, 2013 at 9:11 am

    I’m looking forward to what others answer, I know nothing about this wine except that I love to drink it 😉

    • talkavino
      August 10, 2013 at 9:53 am

      Perfect, this is important : ) Cheers!

  2. August 10, 2013 at 9:31 am

    I’m biased as a Virginian of course, but I think Virginia Viognier is awesome!

    1. Syrah (or Shiraz)
    2. Northern Rhone, Condrieu
    3. Virginia!
    4. False – lots of Condrieu hovering in that range
    5. Nebbiolo


    • talkavino
      August 10, 2013 at 9:52 am

      Excellent work, Kirsten! Well deserving a glass of Viognier : )

  3. August 10, 2013 at 10:02 am

    I used to be crazy about this grape while in Australia.

    1. Syrah
    2. Condrieu
    3. No idea, so I pick New York
    4. It has to be False
    5. Nebbiolo


    • talkavino
      August 11, 2013 at 1:16 am

      Great work, thanks for playing Namie!

  4. August 10, 2013 at 10:12 am

    1. Syrah
    2. I would think that it would be Northern Rhones blends and Condrieu (sp)
    3. Virginia
    4. False. I bet a bunch of Condrieu and Rhone blends are Classic.
    5. No idea but perhapsPrimitivo because she’s related to everyone. If correct that makes Viognier a first cousin once removed of Zinfandel?

    • talkavino
      August 11, 2013 at 1:17 am

      Thanks for playing! The answer is coming on Wednesday.

  5. PSsquared
    August 10, 2013 at 11:35 am

    Excellent quiz, as always. I will dip my toe in the quiz and guess Shiraz for the first one. And I will guess Nebbiolo for the last one, and only because it’s fun to say. 😉

    • talkavino
      August 11, 2013 at 1:18 am

      excellent start! Next time you can add one ore answer 🙂

  6. August 10, 2013 at 2:31 pm

    I answer the same as Kirsten. Do a deserve a glass of Voignier, too?

    • talkavino
      August 11, 2013 at 1:21 am

      Absolutely! everybody deserve a glass of Viognier

  7. August 10, 2013 at 2:35 pm

    1) Syrah
    2) Condrieu
    3) I know we make some dang good Viognier here in Texas but haven’t heard it as the offiicial grape. VA?
    4) False
    5) Not sure, Barbera?

    • talkavino
      August 11, 2013 at 1:19 am

      Thanks for playing, Alissa! Excellent work!

  8. August 10, 2013 at 2:37 pm

    Ah, I had some errands to run this morning and I waited too long to respond.
    1. Syrah
    2. I am going to say Château-Grillet (which is an appellation within Condrieu and the source of perhaps the best white wine I have ever had), just to be different (but still be right).
    3. Virginia
    4. I am guessing false.
    5. Nebbiolo.

    • talkavino
      August 11, 2013 at 1:19 am

      Excellent work, Jeff! The answers are coming on Wednesday.

  9. August 10, 2013 at 6:14 pm

    1. Syrah
    2. Condrieu
    4. False
    5. Nebbiolo

    • talkavino
      August 11, 2013 at 1:14 am

      Thanks for playing, Julian! The answers are coming on Wednesday.

  10. August 10, 2013 at 8:59 pm

    I’m going to chip in on #5: according to Dr Vouillamoz, Viognier has a “close genetic relationship” with Freisa, which in turn has a parent-offspring relationship with Nebbiolo. So, it appears that the closest Italian “relative” of Viognier is actually Freisa 🙂

    • talkavino
      August 11, 2013 at 1:14 am

      Thanks, Stefano – I will take this into account.

  11. August 11, 2013 at 1:30 am

    1. Syrah
    2. Condrieu
    3. Virginia (had to look that up…and I learned!)
    4. True (the highest score I found was 94)
    5. Nebbiolo! What a surprise!

    • talkavino
      August 11, 2013 at 8:18 am

      Thanks for playing Linda! The answers are coming on Wednesday.

  12. August 11, 2013 at 11:21 am

    1. Syrah in Rhone
    2. Rhone (I love Marsanne and Roussane blends here too and they do age beautifully as well…esp Fonsalette Blanc)
    3. NY (guessing)
    4. I want to say False
    5. Nebbiolo?

    • talkavino
      August 11, 2013 at 11:55 pm

      Thanks for playing! The answers are coming on Wednesday.

  1. August 14, 2013 at 6:19 pm
  2. August 31, 2013 at 8:38 am
  3. November 30, 2013 at 9:04 am
  4. June 28, 2014 at 9:20 am

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