Viognier has had an interesting journey and has been re-discovered by the wine world in the past decades.
This full-bodied white wine grape that most probably originated in southern France had less than 100 acres of vine under cultivation in the 1980s. Now it covers about 5 times more across Europe, South Africa, Argentina, India, Australia and the US.
With its distinctive perfumed aromas of peach, apricot, violet, chamomile, vanilla and steel it makes a great blending partner to many red and white wines. It is the only grape permitted in the French wine ‘Condrieu’ in the Rhone Valley, so if you are drinking a Condrieu you are drinking a wine made with 100% Viognier.
Other features of this wine include its low acidity, creamy texture and high alcohol levels. Most viogniers have at least 13% ABV. This dry wine often feels off-dry as the tropical fruits add a hint of fruity sweetness to it.
Even though it produces very low yields and is prone to diseases, this wine with its unique characteristics has done very well in India. Almost all producers in India use it to make some good varietal as well as use it in various blends.
Do try a Viognier if you’ve not tried one yet, it will be completely different from the other white wines you would’ve tried. It also pairs well with Indian food as it has the complexity and the body to stand the spices and heat of the Indian cuisine.
While Viognier can produce some great single varietal wines, it is often used in white as well as red wine blends. In the Rhône, Viognier is blended with Roussanne, Marsanne, Grenache Blanc, to produce white wines and with Syrah to make red wines from Côte-Rôtie.
With its perfumed aromas and complex texture, it can please many people. From rich, medium-bodied styles to off-dry, late harvest styles, viognier makes some interesting wines that can stand a range of food, too.
The fruity and perfumed aromas of Viognier, and its high level of alcohol, go well with many types of spices, herbs and ingredients. The off-dry styles also pair well with some fruit-based (especially apricot and mango) desserts.
The idea here is to complement rather than contrast the flavours.
Citrus dressings should ideally be avoided.
This wine goes really well with mildly-spiced Indian and Southeast Asian curries. Some food pairing suggestions are:
1. Pad Thai – The sweet, sour and savoury flavours along with the various textures is a great pair with aromatic Viognier.
2. Butter Chicken – The slightly sweet flavour of Butter Chicken along with the creamy gravy and spices match the body, texture as well as the flavours of the wine. The off-dry Viogniers can be paired with the dish to bring down the spice if required.
3. Gorgonzola – The creamy and sharp flavours of the cheese complement the many flavours of the wine and match with the oily texture, too.
4. भुट्टा- Grilled corn on an open fire with a touch of salt and red pepper will complement the wine, without diluting its perfumed fruity and floral flavours.