A few months ago, I saw Real Simple tweet a pearl-clutching demand:
Move over, Chardonnay. These under-the-radar wines are every drop as good as your regular bottles. http://t.co/TzzZFh5VJe— Real Simple Magazine (@RealSimple) April 29, 2014
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!
Laurent Miquel Nord Sud Viognier 2012, $13.99
2012 Gerard Bertrand Reserve Speciale Viognier, $11.99