Australian Viognier wine regional and flavour profile
WHITE | LIGHT | MEDIUM BODY
Tastes and aromas
Flavours of tropical fruit such as pineapple, melon with peach notes
Firm acidity, light-medium bodied
Drink now or later
Best consumed relatively young as it will typically lose perfume as it ages. This varietal often peaks at one year of age, though some can maintain a high quality through up to ten years.
- It was introduced to the Rhone valley, along with Shiraz (Syrah) during the Roman occupation.
- Before 1990 it was rare to find Viognier anywhere else than France, and even there it was facing near extinction. It was only after being introduced California and Australia and having these two winemaking powerhouses shove it onto the world stage that its survival was assured.
- Increasingly Viognier is being blended with other Varietals, most interestingly of which is the combination of Viognier and Shiraz. Only a small proportion of the white grape is used (commonly between 2-5% , though some makers are using up to 15%). During fermentations the colour and flavours combine resulting in a greater, more complex flavour and a brighter colour.
- It is uncommon to find an Oaked Viognier as its delicate fruit flavours can be very easily overpowered.
- The origin of the name Viognier is also obscure. The most common namesake is the French city of Vienne, which was a major Roman outpost. Another legend has it drawing its name from the Roman pronunciation of the “via Gehennae”, meaning the “Valley of Hell “. Probably this is an allusion to the difficulty of growing the grape.
- The difficulty in growing Viognier grapes refer to the time of harvesting. When picked too early, the grape fails to develop the full extent of its aromas and tastes. When picked too late, the grape produces wine that is oily and lacks perfume.
- Plantings in Australia have increased tenfold since the year 2000.
South Australia is a powerhouse for this Variety with the Eden Valley, McLaren Vale, Langhorne Creek and Adelaide Hills all supplying quality Viognier wines. River regions such as Riverland and Murray Valley also have substantial plantations.
Internationally, it is best known as the only permitted grape for the French wine Condrieu in the Rhone valley, however is also popular in California and Virginia.
Aromatic wines like this can stand up to strong flavours, so match Viognier with Chinese, Mexican or Spicy Thai. This is also a wine that pairs well with Sushi.