Friday, February 6, 2015

Refugio Ranch 2012 Viognier, Santa Ynez Valley

Refugio Ranch Viognier

A few years ago Viognier was supposed to be the “it” wine. You know, like Malbec was for several years. A vino that captures the imagination of the wine-buying public. It never quite happened. Maybe Moscato took its place. Whatever transgressed, Viognier remains a favorite of mine despite the fickle whims of the world.

There are three reasons I really appreciate Viognier. First, it is a wine that can be expressive and complex. Secondly, my trip to Virginia a couple years ago showed the wide spectrum of what can be done with Viognier (it is their state’s signature wine). On the third hand, the Green Dragon, my wife and tasting partner, is not a fan of Chardonnay – especially if it is oaked. That triggered a search for interesting white wines.

The Refugio Ranch Vineyards 2012 Viognier is an example of a deliciously different white wine. It comes from the Santa Ynez region of Santa Barbara County. Rhone grape varieties are shining stars in this part of California. A mile of the Santa Ynez River snakes through Refugio Ranch bringing with it sandy, alluvial soil, and a natural flow of cool air combined with ocean breezes to create an ideal climate for growing white Rhone varietals.

We served the RR Viognier while enjoying a beet salad with friends at home prior to heading out to the Final Cut restaurant at the Hollywood Casino. Our guests found the Viognier surprising.

The nose is a fragrance of a flower garden. The wine was partially fermented in stainless steel to keep the fresh fruit highlights, but partially in French oak to impart richness. On the palate there are flavors of oranges, peach and honeysuckle.

Refugio Ranch Viognier is a refreshing flavor ride. It will pair well with vegetable dishes or salmon. There were only 250 cases produced. I happened to snap this up at only $18 online, which is about $10 less than SRP.

Meanwhile, back at the Ranch, you can find a delicious bottle of Viognier.

Rating: 3 of 5 Value: 4 of 5

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