Revisiting A Chilean Viognier

Can you get a decent Viognier at this price?...

Cono Sur Bicicleta Chilean Viognier

Cono Sur Bicicleta Chilean Viognier

Several years ago we reviewed a Chilean Viognier. And now we are back. As you may know, Viognier is a relatively uncommon white grape that shines in the French Rhone Valley. The Vina Torornal winery was founded in 1993. They own 1800 hectares (4500 acres) in Chile. The Colchagua Valley is a zone in the Rappel Valley, itself part of the Central Valley wine region. This particular area was once devoted to bulk wine but is now producing better wines. The winery has made a major commitment to the environment as reflected in ISO certifications. The Bicicleta in the name refers to widely-used vineyard transportation. The companion wine is made from another relatively uncommon usually Swiss white grape, Chasselas, coming from Alsace, France and costs about half again as much.

OUR WINE REVIEW POLICY All wines that we taste and review are purchased at the full retail price.

Wine Reviewed
Cono Sur Bicicleta 2012 13.5 % alcohol about $10.

Let’s start by quoting the marketing materials. “Tasting Note : Pale gold colour; tropical fruit aromas with melon, peach and orange blossom notes; dry, medium bodied, with great acidity and flavours of grapefruit, peach, green apple and pineapple; good length on the finish. Serving Suggestion : Serve with stir-fry or wok sautéed white meats, vegetables and creamy poultry dishes.” And now for my review.

At the first sips this wine offered upbeat acidity, with a nice length and the taste of melon. Wasabi coated peanuts cut its acidity but added some smokiness to the liquid. In the presence of barbecued chicken breast the wine darkened. I tasted pears and some metal. A quinoa side dish rendered our Chilean friend more forceful. Steamed broccoli led to more of the same. This wine was long and provided lots of pears. In response to fruit juice candy the libation flattened but did offer some apricots.

The next meal began with Japanese rice crackers. My glass replied with light acidity and pleasant sweetness but not much fruit. When this Vigonier encountered home made chicken breast nuggets, it was refreshing but not very present. I noted some honeysuckle, a common feature of Vigonier wines. A fried vegetable combo of red peppers and Jerusalem artichokes spiced with Cilantro rendered the liquid’s acidity bright; it was long and smoky. In the presence of fresh blueberries Whitey was almost sour. Its acidity was perky. A square of bittersweet Swiss chocolate rendered the libation lightly lemony.

The final meal centered on fried, packaged sweet potato pancakes slathered with high-butterfat yoghurt. In response the drink gave me lemons, some metal, and a tinge of sweetness. Zesty guacamole brought out the oak but made the lemons take a back seat. Dessert was Haagen-Dazs Caramel Cone Explosion ice cream. The wine replied with light acidity and almost no fruit to accompany the sugar fest in my dish.

Final verdict. I would buy this wine again. The winery offers several other varietals and I plan to taste at least one more of them.

Access the companion wine An Alsatian Chasselas.

About the Author

Levi Reiss has authored or co-authored ten books on computers and the Internet, but to be honest, he would rather just drink fine Italian or other wine, accompanied by the right foods. He teaches classes in computers at an Ontario French-language community college. His wine websites include    and

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