Pronounced vee-ohn-yay. Grape varietal used in the production of white wine. Originating in the Rhône region of France, small but increasing amounts are grown in the United States (primarily California), Australia, and Brazil. Limited amounts of Viognier are planted throughout the world because the grape is difficult to grow, produces low yields, and is susceptible to disease. All of these facts make Viognier wines rare. Wine connoisseurs search out these wines, craving the intriguing characteristics. In France, the Viognier is vinified with Syrah (a red grape) to produce high quality Côte Rôtie red wine. The highest quality Viognier is from Condrieu and Château Grillet appellations in the Rhône region of France. Wines produced with Viognier are appealing to drinkers of Chardonnay and Gewürztraminer.
Also known as: Vionnier
Characteristics: Quality can range from ordinary to exceptional. Known for its complexity, powerful aroma, and flavors of floral, tropical fruit, spice, and herbs. Viognier varietal tends to be dry, medium to full bodied, low in acidity, and low in tannins. Processing techniques determine the bouquet and flavors. These can include butter, cream, light vanilla, smoke, and toast.
Ageing: Should be drunk young with the exception of Château Grillet which is renowned for ageing up to 20 years.
Serving temperature: Serve at a temperature of 50º-55º F.
Food pairing: Seafood, poultry, Asian cuisine, Thai cuisine, lobster, roast chicken, sautéed sole, sautéed trout, bacon dishes, Cajun fish, mild cheeses, and barbecued poultry.