Monday, December 14, 2020

Windsor Vineyards 2017 Viognier, California

Windsor ViognierViognier offers a Chardonnay alternative – a great pick for holiday meals.

The Pronunciation Hurdle

Nine or 10 years ago, there was a lot of chatter about the next “it” grape. Malbec had its run, with consumers downing the smooth-drinking Argentinian red in mass quantities. Some sages thought that Viognier, a white grape with roots in France’s Rhone Valley, might be ready for the spotlight.

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I recall being at a wine conference in Charlottesville in 2011. Virginia had named Viognier as its signature grape and the closing meal had a four-course meal with two Viogniers for each course!

The first time I tried ordering Viognier in a restaurant I wasn’t familiar with the grape (many years ago, people!). As a result I butchered the pronunciation. The server had no clue what I was saying and probably didn’t know how to say it either.

Viognier, although being one of our favorites, never really skyrocketed.  If you have missed out on Viognier, though, that’s your loss. For the record, it is pronounced Vee-yoh-N’YAY. Accent on YAY!

The Cork Comes Out

We recently opened a bottle of Windsor Vineyards Viognier during a socially-distant tasting on our patio. Thankfully the North Carolina weather gave us a night suitable for sitting out and sipping wine.

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Windsor Vineyards was founded by wine legend Rodney Strong back in 1959. One unique facet of the winery is their custom label program, which dates back to when so many customers asked Strong to set aside their favorite bottles that he began putting their names on the bottles. Today you can design your own label or have your bottle etched.

Viognier typically has a rich and full body with delicate, floral notes. It’s not stated anywhere, but it certainly tastes like it has some oak aging.  This Windsor Viognier has small amounts of Chenin Blanc and Muscat grapes in the mix.

The wine is bright in character with more heft than your typical California white. There are flowing citrus notes and tropical fruit accents with touches of orange peel and toasted almond. The ABV is 12%, about on par with a Riesling. Lower alcohol wines, in our experience, are food friendly. This will pair nicely with turkey, chicken or spicy Asian dishes.

At a mere $16, this is a tasty Viognier for your table. Yay for Viognier!

Full disclosure: This bottle was received as a marketing sample.

1 comment:

LindaL said...

Sounds like a great complement for our Christmas brunch. Thanks for sharing! Merry Christmas, Linda and Bob