Welcome to the Viognier Wine Guide from Cass Winery. Viognier is not the easiest grape to grow. It’s a complex process which, when done right, yields the wonderfully aromatic and richly flavorful Viognier variety, which many connoisseurs rank as among their favorites. A white wine, Viognier traces its origins to southern France, in the Condrieu region. Viognier has an interesting flavor profile, as we’ll soon find out, and its wholesome flavors make it a great wine to pair with a wide variety of foods.
Where is Viognier produced?
Legend has it that back in 281 AD, Roman emperor Vespasian wrecked the vineyards of Condrieu following a revolt by the locals. Later, in an effort to replace the vineyards destroyed, the Roman emperor Probus imported the Viognier grape variety into the Condrieu region from Dalmatia, which is in present-day Croatia, a few hundred miles away. Other prominent regions include Barossa Valley and Eden Valley in Australia, Tuscany and Piedmont in Italy, Paarl, Elgin, and Stellenbosch in South Africa, and other countries including Argentina, Chile, New Zealand, and Switzerland. In the United States, the primary growing regions include Sonoma, Napa Valley, Paso Robles, Monterey, and Virginia.
What is the flavor of Viognier like?
Viognier is a full-bodied wine that isn’t too high on the acidity scale. And although it has a substantially fruity flavor, it doesn’t taste too sweet to the tongue, being more subtle than a hit of sugar; the primary flavors in a typical Viognier include hints of apricots, honeysuckle, orange blossoms, gingerbread, and peach. Because of its distinct aromas, Viognier is one of the most easily recognizable varieties, and is ideally drunk young, before the grape ripens and matures too much, and before its low acidity fades.
What does Viognier smell like?
Viognier smells sweet to the nose, but it writes an entirely different story on the palate. Here, it is generally dry and soft, because of its low acidity, while the taste is full-bodied, distinct, and varies slightly depending on the climatic conditions in which the grapes were grown and the manner in which the wine was produced. Typically, Viognier is bottled as a varietal wine, and the grapes are generally not aged in new oak because the producers believe in the importance of keeping the flavor of Viognier crisp and fresh, in the bottle. However, some versions of Viognier are aged in oak, and these wines have a denser, creamier taste with hints of vanilla.
What foods is Viognier best paired with?
Like most rich wines, Viognier is great as an aperitif on colder days. Beyond this, the wine pairs splendidly with poultry and fish. In particular, Viognier is best combined with rich and creamy poultry dishes, and with meatier varieties of fish. Interestingly, it also pairs beautifully with seafoods like crab, shrimp, and lobster, and with spicier foods like Indian curries; it’s less well-known, but as a versatile part of your cellar, Viognier can adorn a wide range of meals and events.
Some common food pairing
There are a few tricks of the trade to determine what the best food is for Viognier wine. Here are some examples for you,
- Meats - roasted chicken, turkey breast, teryaki chicken, sea bass, shrimp and orange chicken
- Cheese - brie, gruyere, comte and fondue cheese
- Herbs - fresh dill, lemongrass, ginger and shallot
- Vegetables - cauliflower, butternut squash, leeks, polenta
Viognier is, ultimately, a wine that borders between bold and fruity aromas. So, if this white wine tickles your taste buds, you’ll probably also love Torrontés from Argentina and dry Moscatel from Portugal, which share similar floral notes as Viognier, and Marsanne, Roussanne, and Chardonnay, which resemble creaminess of oak-aged Viognier.
Is Viognier Wine Sweet or Dry?
Although the color and smell of a Viognier suggest a sweet white wine, when you actually taste a Viognier wine you will see that it is predominantly dry, with a sweet tone in the wine. So in other words, Viognier wines are dry and sometimes can taste sweet depening on how the wine was made.
Do you chill Viognier?
Typically Viognier is served at slightly below room temperature. This actually lets the wine's taste come through in full rich flavors. Often times people have hard fast rules when it comes to serving wines and temperatures. But in reality serving temperature can be just a personal preference but in general white wine and in this case Viognier, tend to be served chilled and red wines will be served about at room temperature.
What is the aroma of Viognier?
Although there are different aromas, the Viognier's primary smell is that of rose petals mixed with a perfume-esque smell. Many other people also say that Viognier smells sweet (some say it smells like orange or something sweet that is the citrus base). One common misconception is that even though Viognier smells sweet, there is actually no sugar and is typically made in a dry style (meaning no residual grape sugar). Often times, people note the sweet smell of Viognier wine smells similar to fruit that is a little exotic and tropical.
When buying Viognier Wines
- Typical Viognier wines ABV or alcohol by volume is from about 13.5%-15.5%. If you want a big bolder and richer Viognier flavor go for a higher ABV. If you want a softer, less bold Vioginer wine go for a 14% ABV or less.
- Generally there are two different sytles to producing Viognier Wine. The two differences are: new oak aging vs no oak aging. The new oak aging delivers a creamier, richer less fruity taste. The no oak aging produces more tropical, floral fruit flavours.
- The best regions that grow Viognier Wines are sunny regions with temperatures that are moderatly cool and have nearby bodies of water.
- Here are the best regions: Northern Rhone Valley in France, Walla Walla Valley in Washinton Virginia, Elgin in South Africa, Eden Vally in South Australia, and Paso Robles in Central California.
The actual Viognier grape origin is unknown. However, most agree that Viognier wine originated towards what is present-day Croatia, then brought over to Rhone by the Romans. It is no commonly known but the Viognier almost went extinct in 1965. At that time, the grape was only planted on about nine acres in Rhone.
What are Viognier wine known for?
Most people enjoy Viognier wines because of their floral aromas and terpenes. The aromas depend on where the wines were grown, the conditions on the area in terms of weather and the quality of the vines themselves. Some of the variety of Viognier are aged but most of the Viognier wines are meant to be enjoyed young. Viognier wine is commonly a sweeter wine but they are mostly dry. There is not much acidity in Viognier wines and in addition, the wine also sometimes have that enhanced perfume taste. DNA analysis has also shown a very close relationship between Syrah and Viognier wine.
Overall Viognier wine ranges from lighter more airy flavours like orange, tangerine and other sweet aromas to more creamier aromas like nutmeg, vanilla and sometimes even cloves. The variety of flavors come from the different wine producers and how they make the wine. Compared to Chardonnay, Viognier wine is a little softer and often times a bit lighter and more aromas in it.
So there you have it! That is our guide to Viognier Wine. If you have any other questions let us know in the comment box.
The pleasure of a good red wine is hard to beat. And while in the US, it’s easy to want to keep wine for special occasions, dinner parties or weekends, there’s increasing evidence that making a small glass of wine a part of your daily diet can be beneficial for your heart. As part of the ‘Mediterranean diet’ followed in Italy, France and Spain, red wine can be great for the health as well as the taste buds. But drinking a small glass of wine often means that you may not finish a bottle in a single meal. So how long does red wine last once after opening the bottle?
Red wine aficionados know that each bottle is unique; the complex life of the flavors in the bottle reflect each grape that went into the making of the wine; where the vines grew, how much rain they got, how hot the year was, whether any chemicals were used in cultivating them.
That means that each bottle is different, and a strict rule isn’t easy to give. Instead, here are a few tips on what can make a bottle drinkable or not.
Keep the wine sealed
A bottle of wine is a symphony of flavors, and it develops in the bottle before it’s opened as well as afterwards. One crucial factor is air. Opening a bottle allows the air to react with the natural compounds that make up the wine, and they change slowly over time. Even after you’ve opened a bottle, re-sealing it will help it stay drinkable for longer. Consider buying a specialist wine seal; believe it or not, they can be more effective than the cork or the screw-top at keeping your wine fresh after it’s been opened.
Keep your wine chilled
Heat is another factor that can dramatically change the way a wine tastes. Traditionally wine is kept at ‘cellar temperature’ (about 55 degrees), which is warmer than most refrigerators; but even refrigerating wine will keep it fresh for longer. Some will tell you that refrigerator-temperature wine has a less complex flavor, and you might find that’s true; it’s harder for your tongue to taste the flavors in a cold liquid, but chilling your wine will make it so that you can enjoy it even up to a few days later.
Keep your wine in a low-light environment
The third factor that can affect the way your wine changes after its opened is the light you keep it in. Keeping your wine in a low-light environment (again, like your refrigerator, or a dark cupboard) will help to make sure that it stays calmer, and drinkable, for longer.
If the bottle is just too far gone
Remember, even if you leave your bottle too long for the wine to be enjoyable as a drink, you can still do a lot with old wine as part of a few classic recipes: consider cooking chorizo in it with a little honey and garlic as a tapas dish, or using it in a chicken potroast to make a coq au vin.
P.S. Check out our new blog post on Viognier Wine!
How to Choose the Best Winery for Your Wedding
Looking for the perfect wedding venue is an exciting time – but it can also be daunting. The range of options are huge, and it’s often hard to think creatively about a venue without worrying that you’ll miss something crucial for the big day. As more and more people look out for places that are more adventurous and original, you need peace of mind and a professional approach, with a venue that’s got all the bases covered. Wineries can be great options here – beautiful settings, insightful catering, and of course, wonderful wines and beverages. Here are a few things to think about before you choose the winery you want to use.
Look for a winery that’s an expert in hosting weddings
Before you set your heart on a particular winery, reach out to discuss how they can help you plan and carry out your day. You can save a lot of trouble by making sure they’re not only experts in wine, but also experts in the details of the day – catering, decoration, ceremonies, and planning. Even if you plan to gather services from a range of providers, or manage the day yourself, the day will be much smoother if your winery already knows how a wedding should flow. Our venue here at Cass Winery offers indoor and outdoor locations and provides a rustic beautiful atmosphere. We include the use of our facility, 2-night stay in our guesthouse, and vintage car for the lucky wedding couple. Click here to check out more information. (http://www.casswines.com/Events/Weddings)
Choose a venue that aligns with your vision
This one might be obvious but make sure the winery you choose fits the aesthetic you have in mind. If you want natural elements like big oak trees, an outdoor bar, and a very rustic experience; then choose a winery which can host all of those things for you. Also, knowing your estimated guest count ahead of time will help you determine your budget, and save you from headaches down the road. In addition, consider what you need most from the day – a beautiful location for photos or the ceremony, great catering, a professional to orchestrate the day – and make sure you’re getting what you want!
Does the venue layout fit my needs
If you are doing the ceremony, reception, and hors orderves all in one venue, does it have separate spaces for all of those events? It's important to make sure you have enough space required to have all three in one venue. Typically, most wineries won't be able to accommodate all three scenarios, so make sure to ask the management. Here at Cass Winery, we have a range of options for you. Between the beautiful 200-year-old Oak Tree which is often recommended for picturesque wedding ceremonies, the library room which accommodates a more intimate dining experience for your guests, and the concert and banquet hall which is a great location for a live band and dancing we have all your needs covered. Did we mention we have an amazing rustic picnic location to enjoy your reception and cocktail hour surrounded by our vineyard?
Consider how guests will get from point A to point B
Transportation and parking vary depending on the location of the venue but it's important to consider nearby hotels and inns, including how much they cost and whether there are enough rooms available. Also, it's important to consider parking and if there is on-site parking for guests at the venue. If parking is not available, consider options like valet parking or even shuttle buses to take guests back and forth.
Check if the winery has any vendors they require
With all the emotions and excitement that comes with the early stages of planning a wedding, it is very easy for couples to get overwhelmed by all the options. Consider hiring a wedding planner or wedding coordinator early on the in the process to help you navigate through these decisions. Many times the venue will have preferred wedding planners or coordinators which know the location very well and can help with everything from transportation to which linens to rent. This can be a huge time saver as well as a money saver because wedding planners often have key relationships with vendors and can get you better deals.
Ask about the services the winery offers
Much like other wedding venues, wineries may also offer additional services along with the wedding venue service. For instance, they may have their own venue coordinator, or suggest a few photographers who have prior experience in capturing events with them. Some wineries may also offer complementary services; like on-site accommodations for getting ready and staying the night of the wedding, or a vintage car to transport the bride for a memorable arrival into her cermony. For more information on the Cass Winery services click here. (http://www.casswines.com/Events/Weddings)
In the end, what makes a day wonderful is the combination of practical factors, all working perfectly around you at the heart; and the right paso robles winery can be a beautiful place to enjoy your day and forget about the practicalities. Give some thought to what you need, and then go ahead and enjoy your day!
P.S. If you interested in viognier wine, see our lastest blog post.