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Posts Tagged ‘#wbw78’

One Viognier, Two Viognier

June 21, 2012 11 comments

Viognier. A white grape, with more than 2000 years of history, and nearly extinct by 1965 with only 8 acres of plantings left in Northern Rhone  – for the full history of the grape you can refer to this article in Wikipedia.

By the way, can you pronounce that “Viognier”? I’m not trying to insult the intelligence of my readers, but this french word is anything but easy. If you need a little help, here is a very short video for you:

If you wonder why are we all of a sudden talking specifically about Viognier (after all, there are other 9,999 grapes supposedly growing in the world), the reason is simple. Yesterday was Wine Blogging Wednesday event number 78, hosted by Frank Morgan from Drink What You Like blog, and the event was dedicated to Viognier, which sprung back to life and now successfully grows pretty much all over the world.

Viognier is no stranger on this blog. Two years ago, I was able to taste Virginia Viognier at Chrysalis Vineyards – it was very good. Then I had probably my best Viognier experience ever at the Lavinia wine store in Geneva – there I tried 2009 Domaine Georges Vernay Condrieu, a classic Viognier from Norther Rhone (it was outstanding with Drinkability rating of 9).

For this WBW78 tasting I had a few prerequisites. For one, I would love to taste Virginia Viognier – but it is not available in Stamford, CT. For the second one, I knew that I don’t want to taste California Viognier. Why? First, about two month ago, I had bad experience at a number of wineries in Temecula Valley in California. Second, there some some advantages in writing this blog post somewhat late – you can refer to the work of others. Please read the description of Rosenblum 2008 Kathy’s Cuvee in the blog post by the fellow blogger Gwendolyn Alley, especially the last part: “…finishes tart and savory yet cloying”. No further comments.

I definitely wanted to have classic Condrieu Viognier – but that is typically not a cheap option. Thanks to the advice of Zak from Cost Less Wines, I ended up with two bottles of Viognier – one from France, and another one from Australia.

My Viognier #1 was 2011 Les Vines de Vienne Viognier ($19.99, 13% ABV). Interestingly enough, this wine was made in the region surrounding the town of Vienne in Northern Rhone region of France – one of the legends has it that this town (Vienne) gave the name to the grape itself (Viognier). Another interesting fact is that Les Vines de Vienne wines are product of obsession of the three wine makers – read more about it here.

I didn’t plan any dinner or an event around this Viognier tasting, so I decided to pair it with a few random things I could grab from the fridge. But before we will talk about pairing, let’s talk about the wine itself. Here are the tasting notes “in progress”. Nice golden color, beautiful nose of green apple and orange zest. There is clean residual sweetness on the nose. One the palate – touch of sweetness, lemon tartness, golden delicious apple, perfect acidity. As wine opens up, sweetness disappears and acidity kicks in. Perfectly refreshing and balanced, very clean. Drinkability: 8+. Taking into account the results of tasting on the second day, I want to note that it is important not to over-chill this wine. Taken directly from the fridge on the second day, the wine had slightly unpleasant sharpness, a bite, which disappeared as soon as the wine warmed up a bit.

As I said, the food pairings were rather a game than anything thought through and planned. I tried this wine with slow roasted Jalapeno ( our local Fairway had selection of large size Jalapenos, which were a killer after being slow roasted on a grill) – the wine was not enough to remove the heat of Jalapeno (fire hose was more appropriate for that). Wine worked very well with French goat cheese called Crottin de Champcol. It perfectly complemented grilled yellow squash and worked nicely with grilled asparagus.

Viognier #2 was 2011 Yalumba Viognier South Australia ($11.99, 13.5% ABV). A touch darker in color than the #1, less bright. Nose of pear, herbs, white peaches and mango, more exuberant than the wine #1, but not to the point of being overwhelming. On the palate, there was more fruit than in the wine #1, but it was predominantly white grapefruit. While the wine was showing round enough, there was not enough acidity.  Drinkability: 7.

None of the previous food pairings worked well. With Jalapeno, the wine was showing very acidic. It was too fruity against goat cheese, and didn’t do anything to asparagus, and grilled squash was the only okay pairing for this wine. Still, I think this is quite reasonable wine for the money.

This concludes my report about Viognier experience. I would highly recommend the Les Vins de Vienne Viognier – the wine is definitely worth seeking, especially considering that anything comparable and coming directly from Condrieu will cost you three times more.

So, how about you? Did you have Viognier yesterday? I hope you did, and if you did not… what are you waiting for? You should be on the way to the store now. Cheers!

 

 

Wednesday’s Meritage (and the Answer for the Wine Quiz #16)

June 20, 2012 2 comments

Not sure if it will become a permanent feature on this blog, but I want to continue my short “wine news flash” posts on Wednesdays, and even came up with a fancy name for these posts, as you can judge from the title.

First, an answer for the Wine Quiz #16, Father of California Wine: those of you who chose Junípero Serra were … absolutely correct! Under direction of Father Junipero Serra, Franciscan missionaries planted first sustained vineyard at Mission San Juan Capistrano in 1779, and subsequently, vineyards had been planted at another 8 missions. Those plantings had being known as Mission grapes, which dominated California wine industry for about 100 years.

Today is a special Wednesday, which happens once a month in wine bloggosphere – it is so called Wine Blogging Wednesday. To be more precise, today is Wine Blogging Wednesday 78, or as it is abbreviated on Twitter, #WBW78. For 78 month in a row (if I’m not mistaken), special wine theme is selected for a third Wednesday of the month, and everybody are invited to participate and share the experiences. The theme for #WBW78 is called “Get yo Viggy On” (not that I personally like the way it is phrased), and it is dedicated to Viognier, a very interesting white grape originated in  Northern Rhone in France. Viognier wines should be widely available – hope it is not too late for you to get a bottle and join the festivities. I plan to report on my experience later on tonight or tomorrow.

For the rest of the interesting wine news, I decided to share only one note, which I came across yesterday, reading Tom Wark’s Fermentation wine blog (if you are not reading his blog – you are missing a lot). I know that some of my readers come from Canada, and I learned from this post that Canada is about to allow direct shipments of wine across provinces. As I believe US wine laws are arcane, I had no idea that Canada wine laws were even worse! I’m glad that this problem is about to be solved for Canadian wine lovers.

That’s all I have for you for now, folks. Cheers!

 

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