Viognier (pronounced “vee-on-yay”) is a summery white wine originating from the South of France. Perfumed with aromas of stone fruits such as peach and nectarine, this uplifting white wine is known for being full-bodied and refreshing.
A glass of Viognier white wine will leave lingering notes of vanilla pod, honeysuckle, and rose on the palette. Bright and mildly acidic, with a balanced creaminess that renders beautifully in warm weather. Viognier is not categorized as a sweet wine, but the heady floral tangs can often bring to mind memories of consuming a balanced yet luxurious dessert.
Viognier is a speciality wine that is best known for being a part of the white wine Condrieu appellation of South France’s Rhône. The Rhône is found in the Southern region of France and is to this day the only approved homeland of Viognier white wine. You may find variations of Viognier in other places around the world, but Rhône is its place of origin.
Something which makes Viognier wine so special is the fact that it almost went extinct in the mid-20th century. However, since a revival in the 1970s, the beloved Viognier is back on the market and thriving. What else can one learn about this beautiful, dry white wine? Let’s find out.
What Is Viognier Wine?
Viognier wine is a Southern French white wine that became popularized in 1781. Known for being bold and creamy while retaining a seductively bright fruitiness, Viognier is a great companion to any balmy evening under the stars.
Made from sweet, plump white grapes, this wine is characteristically light and enchanting. In its flavour profile you might find mango, apricots, May blossom, ripe peaches, and musk. It is a mildly sweet wine with balanced acidity, certainly erring on the side of flowers and fruits rather than spices or herbs.
Where Is Viognier Wine From?
This wine comes from Rhône, a small town in the South of France. It belongs to something called an appellation, which is a specific or approved variety of products recognized for their distinct heritage, style, and place of origin.
In this case, Viognier is a part of the Condrieu appellation, which is a particular variety of grapes and winemaking exclusive to Viognier wine. In addition to its close connection with Southern France, Viognier is produced and enjoyed by people and countries from all over the world.
Australia’s Eden Valley produces a fine Viognier, as does a variety of California wineries. The floral yet buttery aromatic profile of Viognier white wine has made it popular throughout the world.
How Is Viognier Wine Made?
Viognier grapes tend to both bud and ripen mid-season, but lower temperatures can mean a latent harvest. The grapes used in Viognier white wine are soft, plump, and sweet, with notes of stone fruit and May blossom.
Managing Viognier vineyards can be challenging, as they need quite a lot of sunshine to ripen but turn unpleasantly acidic when too hot. A high level of acidity can mean that the fruity freshness which characterizes Viognier is lost.
Most Viognier wines are fermented in oak barrels, which add to the flavour profile that it is known for. The longer the wine sits in oak, the darker the cadmium colouration will be. Viognier that does not ferment in oak tends to be milder in both flavour and colour.
What Does Viognier Taste Like?
Some of the most notable flavours to be experienced when drinking Viognier wine include apricots, peaches, vanilla pod, honeysuckle, chamomile, and mango. Its flavour is complex and fruity, bursting with summery brightness and gentle flora.
Is Viognier A Sweet Wine?
The sweetness of Viognier will depend on the harvest, but generally speaking, Viognier is known as a wine of mild, natural sweetness. Too much sun exposure will result in sweeter wine, whereas slightly cooler temperatures will produce a more balanced bottle.
Viognier may be gently sweet in its top notes, but the base leans more towards subtle acidity and dryness. This is what makes it such a delectable and popular drinking wine.
Is Viognier High In Acid?
Viognier white wine does not have a reputation for relying on acidity. There is a balance of freshness and acidity that pops through and wakes up the senses, but most of Viognier’s charm lies in its extensive flavour and aromatic profile. It is a full-bodied, mildly acidic, dry white wine.
How To Drink Viognier
Everyone knows how to hold a glass of wine to their lips, but not everyone knows the tricks of the trade when it comes to really drawing out the flavours and textures of summery Viognier.
Viognier should always be consumed after being chilled at a low temperature. Serving at around 50-55 degrees Fahrenheit is likely to bring out the best in this delicate wine.
What Food Does Viognier Wine Pair With?
As tends to be the case with most dry white wines, Viognier is particularly complementary to seafood dishes. Shellfish, strong spices, and punchy flavours are balanced out well by the refreshing Viognier, and can be wonderful accompaniments to traditional Asian cuisine.
Salmon, mussels, pork, and poultry are good pairings for this dry white wine, as are a variety of mild cheeses and seasonal garden vegetables. Best served with light, bright meals that echo Viognier’s summery complexities.
Is Viognier Good For Cooking?
Viognier wine is actually one of the few white wines that are not recommended for cooking. Along with Marsanne, Gewürztraminer, and Sémillon, these wines are simply too bold in their flavour palette to use in savoury dishes. You’d be better off with a mild Pinot Grigio, or Muscadet.
Is Viognier Like Sauvignon Blanc?
Viognier and Sauvignon Blanc are both dry white wines, but that’s about where the similarities end. Sauvignon Blanc is much more acidic than Viognier, and produces a sharper, racier flavour.
Viognier also contains a signature oily texture in the mouth, giving it a fuller, more lucid eruption of flavour. Sauvignon Blanc, on the other hand, is bracing and crisp. Viognier is much more delicate and fruity, considered by some the best white wine in the world.