Recently, and rather randomly, a few different bottles of Viognier found their way into my wine glass.
These circumstantial yet happy occasions served as great reminder of the sheer fun of Viognier. It’s an aromatic grape, aiming to please with its gregarious aromas. It can be familiar but also exotic, offering wide-ranging flavour sensations from floral notes to tropical fruit — perhaps embracing spice or even peach pit.
Plus, Viognier is a global grape, with enticing examples found throughout the wine world. So here’s to making Viognier the white wine of this summer. Here’s to good Viognier vibes only!
Yalumba The Y Series 2019 Viognier, Australia ($16.99, #624502)
Not going to lie, for me this is a straight-up classic Viognier — likely one of the first examples of the intriguing grape I tasted. A bottle that made me explore and learn about the prowess of Viognier, from fabled Condrieu to more local examples. Well, I’m happy to report that it’s still readily available and still represents a great way to get to know Viognier. Citrus meets orchard fruit in this flamboyant, generous white that is both robust yet fresh, finishing with dried fruit and honeysuckle. Pair with pulled jackfruit tacos with peach salsa.
Bottom line: B+, Classic value Viognier
Anthony Buchanan 2020 Viognier, British Columbia (around $29, available at select private wine stores)
The latest, 2019 B.C. Wine Grape Acreage Report, released this March, counted 234 acres of the grape planted in the province. This puts Viognier squarely in the top 10 of most planted white wine grapes — interestingly, between the two Blancs: Sauvignon and Pinot. And it’s true, there are some fun and delicious local Viognier. For example, one recently tasted was Anthony Buchanan’s latest vintage, a small lot bottling with outsized aromas and flavours — ranging from apricot and apple skin, to mineral and honeysuckle. It’s smooth, it’s textural, it’s engaging — and it’s great with grilled octopus salad.
Bottom line: B+, A study in textural Viognier
Domaine de L’Olivette 2019 Blanc, France ($16.99, #229045)
Viognier features throughout the vineyards of France, and while it is most renowned in the northern Rhône appellation of Condrieu there’s no denying the grape’s significance as a partner in the white blends from the south of France. Domaine de L’Olivette, for example, brings organically-grown Viognier and Marsanne from the Languedoc together in their aromatic, engaging white featuring citrus and corn silk aromas. It’s fulsome yet lithe, fruity and easy to get into with a lingering floral finish. Sipping a glass on a patio overlooking the Mediterranean would be postcard perfect, but it’s easy to settle for the back deck and seafood linguine.
Bottom line: B+, Sunny, sumptuous Viognier
The Swirl: Sun and Soil Concert Series
Get ready, Abbotsford’s Sun and Soil Concert Series kicks off Friday with a concert by Nelson Padilla at Campbell’s Gold Honey Farm and Meadery. Designed to celebrate the handmade and homegrown community of Abbotsford by featuring local musicians, farms, and food, the Sun and Soil Concert Series takes place from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Friday nights throughout the summer at various venues. Each evening brings together a live music set with local food and libations. Tickets for each event are $130 (plus fees) for a “Concert & Picnic for 2” ($65 per person). For complete details on each night of the series head to tourismabbotsford.ca/events.