Hearty winter chicken dishes or seafood cooked in rich cream sauces call for bigger bodied white wines, like chardonnay. But if you want to try something different, consider viognier. Pronounced vee-ON-yay or vee-OWN-yay, viognier is prized in France’s northern Rhône wine region where it is the only variety allowed in the appellations of Condrieu and Château-Grillet. Wines made with viognier often have exotic floral aromas and luscious stone fruit, citrus and honeysuckle flavors along with some spice. The following are two fine examples of dry viognier blends from France and Australia that are best enjoyed with a meal.
d’Arenberg 2018 the Hermit Crab Viognier-Marsanne, McLaren Vale, AustraliaBought • Wine and Cheese Place, 7435 Forsyth Boulevard, in December for $13.99
Description • Creamy and delicious, the Hermit Crab has consistently won high scores from critics over the years. A blend of 62% viognier and 38% marsanne, this is a medium- to full-bodied white with lots of character and a silky mouthfeel. It has an inviting fragrant nose and tastes of fresh, juicy apricots and peaches, lemon cream pie and some ginger spice. This very flavorful wine was partially aged in French oak for eight months giving it more complexity.
Richemer 2019 La Cave du Port Vermentino-Viognier, Côtes de Thau, France
Bought • Wine and Cheese Place, 7435 Forsyth Boulevard, in December for $12.99
Description • This is a very interesting white that combines 45% viognier with 55% vermentino, a grape best known for producing light white wines in the Italian island of Sardinia. Vermentino often tastes of tart citrus fruits, such as grapefruit and lime. When blended in this wine with the viognier’s stone fruit flavors, the combination results in a medium-bodied white that’s more acidic and a bit lighter than the Hermit Crab.