A Sweet But Light White. The Perfect Summer Wine?
I remember my first viognier.
I was at the Walnut Creek Art and Wine Festival, probably in 2005 or 2006. I love the event. My little suburban town puts on a mean festival. And by mean, I don’t actually mean mean, of course. But there is wine, and food, and art, and music, and little rides for the kids, and classic cars, and…
Anyway, at one of these events, a few years ago, I was just getting over my “real wine drinkers drink red wine” bullshit phase, and exploring some whites. I already knew I preferred sauvignon blanc to chardonnay, and I loved pinot grigio. But here’s this grape I’ve never even heard of. A grape I have trouble pronouncing… “viognier.”
At any rate, I liked it, if with reservations. The sweet, floral, herbacious experience was a positive one, overall.
Fast forward to December, 2009.
On a trip to Trefethen Family Vineyards to do a little tasting, I chose their 2008 Viognier to include on my make-your-own-tasting-flight (one of the most interesting parts of the Trefethen tasting experience). Glad I did.
In the glass, the wine is almost completely clear. It’s a very, very light shade of barely-yellow. Hold that up next to a full-bodied Chardonnay, and you’d swear the viognier was actually water. One sniff will dispel this thought, however: it smells like a wonderful flower garden, like grass and geraniums. Also, like lightly honeyed fruit. Not the sweet, sacchrine scent of a dessert wine; it’s much more subtle than all that.
On the palate are pleasant floral notes mixed with apricots—definitely apricots—and some light herbs. All in all, this is an incredibly pleasant wine. I may have enjoyed it in the heart of the December chill, but I immediately thought of sipping this while grilling up some chicken or fish in the heat of July.