Dusan Jelic wrote that if Viognier were a person, she would be his best friend’s sister. “Blonde, curvaceous with an air of beguiling perfume about her”. I cannot disagree with this. Viognier is tempting.
Viognier has a distinctive perfume that robustly captures the floral aromas of the fruit. The fragrance is reminiscent of Riesling with the palate similar to Chardonnay. Tempting indeed!
This white grape variety is found in the Rhône Valley, North and South America, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. The grape survived extinction in the 1960s and this low yielding variety has increased in plantings as it increased in popularity.
On the Hermanus Wine Route there is but one Viognier and it is made in the Hemel-en-Aarde Ridge. JC Martin at Creation produces a special pale gold liquid with white peach aromas. This wine is popular and Creation roped in some accolades with their 2012 vintage Viognier when it was listed in the South African Airways Premium Class Category.
Not too far from Hermanus in Bot River, Gabrielskloof also produces a Viognier made from a single vineyard grown on Bokkeveld shale. This is different to the granite soils that the variety seems to favour in France. Gabrielskloof considers Viognier to be one of the least attractive grapes in their vineyards yet one that develops its potential– “a true ugly duckling that turns into a most beautiful and elegant wine”.
With a link via Whalehaven to the Hermanus Wine Route Idiom Viognier originates in the Da Capo vineyards of the Stellenbosch wine region. Idiom Viognier is made by Reino Thiart and displays a pale straw shade with a nose suggestive of honeyed peach and quince.
Elgin has a richness of Viognier with Viogniers available from Corder Wines, Mofam and Elgin Vintners.
Easy summertime living motions for a glass filled with aromas promising good times. Viognier has all the characteristics to deliver on its promise. Its creamy textures and balanced acidity pair well with roast chicken, dishes with ginger, mild cheeses and mild curries. Make sure to stock some Viognier for Thanksgiving and Christmas as the wine goes well with the sweetness of turkey and gammon. Happy holidays!