Chardonnay lovers, your attention please. I’d like to introduce you to your new friend, Viognier.
A classic Chardonnay replacement, Viognier (pronounced ‘vee-ohn-yay’) hails from the northern Rhone river valley, in the south of France, where it is sometimes blended in with Syrah to give the local red wines a bit of lift. It produces a voluptuous, highly aromatic white wine chocked full of aromas of peach, tropical fruit and lovely notes of white and yellow flowers. Viognier can be aged in oak barrels for a bigger, more decadent style, or in stainless steel tanks for a crisper, more floral style.
It’s hard to believe that in the late 1960s, the grape was almost extinct, surviving in just 40 acres of plantings in the communes of Condrieu and Chateau-Grillet in southern France. The wine’s popularity surged as New World growers and winemakers took an interest in the grape in the 1970s, which continues on through today.
Viognier has taken to its new California home. The warm sunshine of Paso Robles is similar to the warm summers in southern France. In the New World, Viognier is typically vinified in a more fruit forward style than its old world relatives. We chose to create an unoaked version of the wine to make sure we didn't hide the fruit behind a veil of wood. Our Viognier pairs beautifully with simply prepared scallops, lobster, shrimp, semisoft cheeses like smoked gouda, and can even handle a bit of spicy richness (i.e. try it with Mexican cuisine).
We plan to release our 2014 Eight Sides Paso Robles Viognier in June, just a few short weeks away.
We hope you like it!