Jeff’s Corner 7-15-22

Howdy, Howdy, and Hello!

I hope everyone is doing their best to stay as cool as possible in this stifling heat, and one of the best ways to do so is to pull the cork on a bottle of our brand new, super-refreshing 2021 GCV Viognier. Now, if your crystal ball is working, you’ve probably figured out we’re going to check out this lovely wine today, but first let’s talk a little about this intriguing grape.

Last vintage, in Jeff’s Corner dated 10-15-21, we discussed the origins of Viognier and its often mispronounced name. Today, I thought it might be fun to check out some cool info about the grape in general.  

Close to one half of the world’s Viognier is planted in France, primarily in the Rhone Valley in the southeast with some in the Languedoc-Roussillon region in southernmost France. The world’s most coveted Viognier is Chateau Grillet, from the Condrieu region in northern Rhone, with current vintages selling between $400 and $500 per bottle. In southern Rhone, it is often blended into red wine (especially Syrah) to soften the tannins.

Viognier is also found in Italy, with new-world plantings in the United States, Australia, South Africa, Chile, and Argentina. In the United States, besides Texas, California, and Washington State, Viognier has found a very happy home in Virginia (especially in the Shenandoa Valley) and has been designated the state’s official grape.

The flagship of our dry white wines, the 2021 Viognier is pale straw with a hint of gold in color, while Texas ruby red grapefruit dominates the nose with support from honeysuckle, mango, ginger, and a touch of steely minerality. The ABV is an approachable 12.9%.

The palate is full-bodied, aggressive yet sensual, and features extremely well-integrated fruit and acid. The spicy finish seems to linger forever, beckoning for another taste. Around 45-50* would be a great serving temp for this very alluring wine.

A richly textured wine like our ’21 Viognier deserves a richly textured food pairing. Let’s grill (or dust in flour and pan-fry in butter) a firm, meaty white fish such as Amberjack, Mahi-Mahi, or Ling, and top it with jumbo lump blue crab sautéed in garlic butter and lemon. Cheese grits will make a nice side.

Next week, my all-time favorite GCV wine, going way back to 1993. Don’t touch that dial…