Thursday, May 6, 2010

Wine of the Week- Fess Parker Viognier

Two weeks ago I wrote about a delicious Australian Muscat. If you tried it and found it to be a bit too simple for your sophisticated palate, maybe you'd like to kick it up a notch! Viognier (vee-ohn-yay) shares many of the characteristics of a muscat, but adds a depth and complexity to the mix. Viognier thrives in a warm climate with a long growing season, which not only allows the stone fruit and honeydew flavors to fully develop, but kicks up the alcohol level a bit too. Riper fruit=higher sugar content=longer fermentation=higher alcohol. In addition, Viognier is reknowned for it's heady floral aromas, and is traditionally blended into the incredible Syrahs of Northern Rhone in France. Santa Barbara certainly fits the bill as a warm climate with a long growing season, and Viognier thrives in this part of the state. This particular vintage has all of the rich fruit characteristics of the varietal, but adds a hint of minerality and citrus on the finish, giving it, unlike the Muscat, the structure to complement a wide variety of food. Thai food, sushi, mild white fish, even a light cream sauce will work just fine. Oh, by the way, I got a little caught up in details and forgot to mention that I absolutely love this wine! The richness of the fruit along with some of the chardonnay characteristics make it a real winner.

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