A Wine Cellar guide to Viognier
A classical Rhône variety, Viognier produces full-bodied, golden whites that are high in alcohol and respond well to barrel fermentation. The wines tend to be aromatic and textured, showing sundried apricots, white fleshed peaches, tropical flowers and spice.
As a rather fussy, low-yielding grape, Viognier’s popularity declined in the 18th century and by the mid-1960s it was nearly extinct in France. The 1990s, however, gave rise to a Viognier renaissance and plantings spread to North America, South America, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.
Whilst Viognier can produce extremely fine single-varietal wines, it is often used as a blending component. In the Rhône, Viognier is blended with Roussanne, Marsanne, Grenache Blanc, and Rolle to produce white wines. In the northern Rhône, particularly the Côte-Rôtie, it is used in red wine production and is co-fermented with Syrah.