Viognier - White Wine Grape

Viognier, now on the rise...

Viognier was already known in the Roman era in the Rhône area of southeastern France. It is not widely planted. In fact, in the late 1960s its worldwide presence was the grand total of 35 acres (14 hectares) in France. In addition to the Rhône, some Viognier is grown in the Languedoc-Roussillon region of southern France. Viognier is also grown in small but rapidly increasing quantities in the United States, especially California, and in cooler areas of Australia.

Classic Image of Viognier (Vionnier) Grapes Vionnier image first published in Victor Rendu, Ampelographie francaise, comprenant la statistique, la description des meilleurs cepages, l'analyse chimique du sol et les procedes de culture et de vinification des principaux vignobles de la France. [2nd ed.]Paris: Masson, 1857.

Illustration courtesy of the State Library of South Australia, Wine Literature of the World website.

Viognier grapes are difficult to grow, and their yield is relatively small. Because Viognier wines tend to be low in acid, they should be consumed a year or two after bottling. In France the unblended Viognier grape is transformed into the excellent Condrieu and Château Grillet wines. These rare gold-color wines are rich and full-bodied with the taste of apricots and oranges. Viognier juice is also blended with Syrah in the red wines of the Rhône Valley.

Viognier is recommended with Pasta in a Vegetable Sauce, Quiche, Salmon, Shrimp, Striped Bass, and Asian food.

See My Own French Wine Articles for a clickable list of French Viognier wines.

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