Robert Parker stated this might be the finest example of the Viognier from California he has tasted. The points didn’t matter, but with that endorsement I set out to see what I could find. I love me some Viognier and my home does double duty as a hospice for stray California Rhônes — so deciding to adopt this wine required virtually no thought.
Pale straw in color. Vibrant and floral aromatics of orange blossom, white flower, honey and a hint of sea foam. On the palate, extremely rich, focused, powerful, exotic and profound. Apricot, nectarine, melon rind, pineapple, guava, nut and tangerine. Creamy with a big dose of minerality and acidity that combine with the fruit to hold you hostage for a 30-45 second plus finish.
Reading the label, I was concerned about the alcohol, but it didn’t show the expected heat; however, it was extremely rich and might overpower many food choices. If I served this with food I would probably opt for raw clams, oysters or mussels in a butter and garlic sauce.
This wine is definitely worth seeking out and a good value at about $20 a bottle. Recommended.
I also liked the McPrice Myers Viognier. While it was not quite as rich or powerful, it was a bit more approachable and food friendly — but I would recommend either based on mood, occasion and food pairing.
Other recommended California Rhône whites:
Tablas Creek Côtes de Tablas Blanc 2006
Pax Marsanne/Roussanne/Viognier, Nepenthe, Alder Springs Vineyard, Mendocino County, 2006
L’Aventure Roussanne 2006
Gaillard Côtes du Rhône Les Gendrines 2006