Wine Wednesday: Viogniers for La Fête Nationale

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Thirteen years ago, I spent my summer in Nice, France on a school trip. I absolutely adored my French education and teachers in middle and high school and have adopted a love of celebrating Bastille Day, as well. Since Le Quatorze Juillet is approaching, I wanted to share a French wine today - and then upgraded and am sharing two.

A few months ago, I saw Real Simple tweet a pearl-clutching demand:

"Move over, Chardonnay"??!!? I was slightly horrified, but mostly intrigued. The article explained that if I like chardonnay (duh, I do), I should try viognier.

I stopped into my wine store a day or so later, found a bottle that wasn't too expensive ($13.99), and trotted toward the register. I realized that I had no idea how to actually pronounce viognier, so I asked the owner. With a full flourish of jazz hands at the end, he enunciated, "Vee - On - YAY!" I already loved the wine for the snazzy name.

The wine is delicious. There's a lot of honeysuckle and wildflower on the nose with a great balance of very juicy, ripe stone fruits. The label also noted that the wine was aged in oak (which is one of the reasons I selected it) but it was not overwhelmingly buttery. After his interpretive pronunciation dance, the owner explained that the flavor had to do with a milder climate in France where it's grown.

The verdict? J'adore viognier. It's very similar to my beloved chardo, but different enough that it feels like a nice change. I purchased another version this past week while getting my fridge all Frenchied up in advance of Monday.

This viognier, purchased for $11.99, had a similarly strong floral nose but was far more citrusy once sipped - the first words that came to mind were "orange peel".

For those of you who also love chardonnay as I do, I'd highly recommend giving viognier a whirl - cheers!

Wines featured:
Laurent Miquel Nord Sud Viognier 2012, $13.99
2012 Gerard Bertrand Reserve Speciale Viognier, $11.99


  1. Love this post! I was first introduced to viognier when it was blended with shiraz (I prefer red most of the year... sorry!). At first I was like, "what's this diluting my shiraz? THE NERVE", and then after I tasted a couple, I've decided it's my new fave thing. It's like it makes the shiraz more polite? If you know what I mean?

  2. I like some viogniers, but my absolutely favorite French white is Sancerre. Give me a glass of sancerre and a dozen oysters and I'm the happiest girl in the world.

  3. When I started reading this post, I thought....OMG THIS IS GOING TO BE THE JAZZ HANDS. What an excellent wine store to have.

    I have not spent any time thinking about Bastille Day, but considering I took French in high school and college, it is time to devise an appropriate meal. It may be crepes, it may be steak frites. It may be L'omelet. Who can know. Can't wait to see what you have put on the menu. bon appetit!


You can be sweet or spicy, but no sour grapes.

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