The Viogner Varietal
Yes, I am drinking a Rhone white varietal – if you read regularly this shouldn’t be a surprise, I regularly refer to the Rhone white wines as ‘the white wine varietal for red drinkers.’ Viognier holds a special place in my heart, as it was one of the first white wines, that weaned me off of exclusively drinking reds, some years ago.
Viognier came into vogue as a single white varietal in the last decade in the U.S. Its been planted as a blending grape, both for white and red wines, for generations. It is now widely planted all over the world, extending from Australia (where it’s commonly blended with syrah/shiraz), Chile and Argentina. It’s widely planted around the U.S. in CA, OR, and WA.
Viognier is especially known for its aromatics; it is a very floral varietal. Typical drunk young, winemakers can use a variety of techniques in production, ranging from stainless to neutral oak (new oak isn’t recommended,)) longer lees (grape residue) contact, and with or without Malolactic (ML) fermentation. Each of these can impart a difference in mouthfeel, body, structure.
Novy Family Winery
Their 2008 Viognier is a small production, only 63 cases made.
Color: light-medium straw color, clear
Aroma: fragrant as befits the varietal. Pear, Notes of citrus, pineapple.
In the Mouth: Aged in Stainless only, with excellent balance, and a mouth watering acidity at finish.
Pear, pineapple, green apple, with a lingering taste of peach at finish.
I tasted this wine both chilled, and then at room temperature, and it shows its flavor and aroma characteristics much better a bit warmer….As I have written repeatedly, this is a critical factor in enjoying a well made, full bodied white wine.
This is a solid expression of Viognier, and one I recommend, at a reasonable $20 retail. Its sold at at the winery, but still available at several distributors; locals can also try Bottle Barn in Santa Rosa, where I have seen Siduri and Novy before.