Viognier is a white wine grape. It’s origins are largely unknown, however recent genetic testing by scientists at the University of California Davis have concluded that the grape originated in Dalmatia, Croatia. Currently the grape is growing in worldwide popularity after almost being extinct in the 1960’s when there was only 8 acres of the varietal planted in France. It is now planted in the northern parts of the Rhone Valley in France with over 740 acres planted.
The grape is notoriously difficult to grow because it mildews easily, it tends to thrive in warmer climates like the inland areas of the California Central Coast which currently has the largest plantings of the grape anywhere in the world with about 2,000 acres planted.At Uncorked Ventures we can understand how Viognier would become popular once again. Although some of the wine can be cellared for some time, it is generally intended to be consumed directly after purchase. It is most similar to Muscat and Riesling wines in taste with very strong flower flavors. It is so strong that we generally recommend pairing the wine with very spicy food such as Thai. If you have a more understated Viognier it can easily be paired with sushi or sashimi. Newer pairing ideas for Viognier include everything from Swordfish with a peach salsa to your Thanksgiving turkey. In many ways Viognier is becoming a sort of challenger to Chardonnay for the title of most well liked white wine, at least within wine circles.
Next time you need a white wine with a fish dish, give a Viognier a try. Especially if you like sweet wines you may find that you have a real winner.