Wine Review – Penner-Ash Viognier

One of these days I will get around to writing the article thats been in my head for ages “White wines for Red wine drinkers” – but not today.

I discovered Viognier some years ago, reading an article about it as a suggested white wine varietal (grape type) that red wine drinkers might enjoy. Rarely bottled in  the US back then as a varietal, it was produced mostly for blending. As this white Rhone (region of France) varietal has gained in popularity, it has gone through the price increase, quality decrease cycle I have witnessed other wine varietals experience. Wineries try and chase ‘trends’ – a risky venture in an industry where its 3-4 years before new vines are viable and another 12+ months before you can sell your first bottling. I don’t encourage it.

The mini Viognier craze seems to have ebbed a bit, leaving better quality on the market, and on the plus side,  a broader consumer appreciation for this varietal. Viognier is a wine I love to share with the uninitiated, especially when I find one that hasn’t been over tampered with, as we like to do in CA sometimes.


Since I am in my part time home in my flat outside Portland, tonight’s Viognier is from Penner-Ash, a 10,000/case year winery in Newberg, OR, part of the Willamette Valley. The fruit was sourced from the Rogue Valley, A Southern Oregon AVA.

The Viognier retails for ~$28 – I purchased my bottle at local grocery store. It comes in a screw top, which doesn’t surprise me – Oregon is very focused on green measures, and this winery touts it’s energy saving focus.

Viognier is a fragrant varietal, one of the reasons why it is desirable as a blending grape.

Color: A very pale yellow, with excellent clarity

Aroma: Fragrant, as a Viognier should be. Peach and citrus on the nose. A hint of green apple, spice.

In the Mouth: Viognier characteristically has good body and mouth feel. This doesn’t disappoint. Melon, tropical fruit, good mid palette, a touch of sweetness, pear. A barely detectable bit of heat (alcohol) on finish.

An excellent expression of Viognier. This is very drinkable by itself, would pair well with many cheeses and a variety of foods.

For my fellow local Sonoma County friends, I had a great viognier this weekend I didn’t review, is the 2008 Copain Viognier Tous Ensemble, under $25.

PLEASE remember to not drink good white wines over chilled – all nuances of aroma and flavor profiles are masked. In the event you don’t have a cellar, and its been in the fridge, take out at least 15+ mins before drinking,. 58-64 degrees is optimal, and most fridges are generally in the 40s.


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