I’ve never felt that Viognier gets the attention it deserves, both in retail stores or restaurants. What first needs to be understood is that it shouldn’t be compared to any other grape, and so if you’ve grown weary of the “usual suspect” white wines, you might want to pay attention to this review!
In 1980 Yalumba planted 1.2 hectares of Viognier in the Barossa Valley, this was Australia’s first commercial planting of the grape. Yalumba now make 4 different styles of Viognier, making it the largest producer in Australia.
Yalumba was founded in 1849 by English brewer Samuel Smith and is Australia’s oldest family owned winery.
Viognier has historically always been blended with Shiraz / Syrah in order to add "aromatic complexity" and balance. It was originally believed that Shiraz originated in the city of the same name in Iran. We now know it to have descended from vines in the Rhone region of France. Viognier is a notoriously tough grape to grow. If it isn’t picked at exactly the right time it can show undesirable flavors, but when fully ripened produces wine with a strong perfume and high alcohol content.
Yalumba are HUGE advocates for the screw cap closure, with the vast majority of their wines being bottled with a “twisty top” since as early as the 1970’s. “Viognier, which seems particularly prone to flavor modification by cork, no doubt benefits from a screw-cap seal,” says Winemaker Louisa Rose.
Place (click for larger view)
The South Australia region can be viewed as the wine hub of Australia, producing over half of all Australia’s wine. Chances are, if you’ve ever bought an Australian wine with a picture/cartoon of an animal on the label, otherwise known as "critter wine", you’ve tasted grapes from South Australia. These wines don’t exactly do the region justice, however with the majority of South Australian wine being used for export, it could be argued that these wines formed the backbone of the Australian wine industry.
Although Australia is referred to as a New World wine producing country, the first vines are actually believed to have arrived with European settlers around 1788.
Australia has over 2,300 wine companies, with a total of over 172,600 hectares (around 660 square miles) under vine.
Wine is fifth on the list of Australian farm exports after beef, wheat, wool and dairy.
As of September 2009, 52% of Australian wine consumed in Australia was "box wine", 20 years ago it was 64%.
The Yalumba “Y Series” Viognier shows a golden color and on the nose, honey, peach, floral and touch of yeast. Bold peach, apricot, nectarine and rich-creamy tropical fruit tones on the palate. The wine sees no oak contact which really lets the fruit come through. Very rich, perfumed, and full of flavor, with a good deal of complexity. A great balance between sweet and dry. Smooth on the finish with mild acidity. 14% alcohol.
Viognier is well known to pair well with spicy dishes such as Thai or Asian, just be careful with the 14% alcohol. Due to the complexity of rich fruit flavors, consider chutney, salsa, BBQ sauce, sweet potatoes, and pineapple.
$16 – fairly readily available from most larger wine stores.
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