Viognier isn’t widely grown outside of its ancestral home in the Rhone Valley of southern France. A limited fruit yielding variety, it was relatively unknown here in California until the early 1990s and the acreage still remains limited due to the difficulty of cultivation. For Geoff Gorsuch, our winemaker, the low yields and viticultural challenges are offset by Viognier’s exotic apricot and spice. He comments that he “…just can’t pass it up, no matter the yield. The aromatics are irresistible. It’s such a seductive wine—luscious and delicate at the same time.”
Aside from a few heat spikes in July, 2005 was quite a cool, long growing season providing the all important hang-time we need to maximize flavor development. Geoff farms our Viognier in the Oak Knoll District where the cooling bay breezes added to the effect of the long ripening season, yielding small, intensely flavored clusters. Following the mid-September harvest, he fermented the juice slowly, at low temperatures to retain all the fragrant honeysuckle, pear and tropical fruit. For all of its delicate aromas, it’s full and satisfying on the palate with a crisp, citrus finish.
Lively peach and melon flavors make our Viognier a refreshing counterpoint for spicy Asian and Indian dishes. Geoff loves it with shellfish—the fruit complements the sweetness of the meat, and the crisp finish cleanses the palate for the next bite. It’s the perfect partner for other sweet proteins like duck or pork, and a delicious companion for sushi.