The Astor Wines & Spirits Glossary

Viognier

Some of the most intriguing wines associated with the white Viognier grape contain hardly any Viognier at all: in the Côte Rôtie appellation, wine must be made principally from the red Syrah grape, but up to 20 percent (often far less) can be of white Viognier. The practice of adding Viognier to Syrah began as a way of taming the very ripe, tannic reds of the hot Côte Rôtie ("roasted slope"), but it produced such incredible results that other countries, most notably Australia, have followed suit and are now producing excellent Shiraz-Viognier blends. French varietal Viognier (Condrieu, Château Grillet) is highly sought after, and California makes supremely ripe examples. In fact, even when vinified completely dry, California Viognier is often so intensely fruity and aromatic that you'll have trouble convincing your palate that it’s not actually off-dry. For fans of New World Gewürztraminer and Riesling, this is a very good thing.
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