Wine Tasting Dinner: Washington Viognier



By Kori ~ August 5th, 2009.

Wine tasting dinner guests at the tableLast Friday evening was another beautiful, sunny, summer evening here in Seattle. It was the perfect night to gather with friends to enjoy a fabulous meal and good wines for one of our monthly wine tasting dinners. This month’s dinner featured Washington Viognier, a lovely white wine that’s perfect for warm weather.

Viognier (pronounced vee-oh-NYAY) is a white variety that originated in the northern Rhône in France. Viognier is known for its profound aromatics. In addition to varietal wines like we tasted in this dinner, Viognier is also used in small amounts to co-ferment with Syrah in order to enhance the aromatics of that red variety.

While everyone enjoyed all of the wines and we would recommend them all, the top two clearly stood at the head of the pack. The 2008 K Vintners Viognier and the 2008 Nefarious Defiance Vineyard Viogner are excellent wines and paired wonderfully with Mom’s dinner of squash soup with rosemary, arugula, peach, and tomato salad, curried chicken, Indian style rice, and sesame vinaigrette seasoned green bean bundles. We topped off the evening with Michele Chiarlo Nivole Moscato d’Asti poured over vanilla ice cream.

Washington Viognier lineup: K Vintners, Nefarious, Maryhill, Benson, Seven Hills, Bergevin LaneFrom 1st to last in the group consensus rankings:

2008 K Vintners Viognier (Columbia Valley, WA): Straw yellow. Sweet citrus, peach, and apricot aromas. Citrus and peaches come through on the palate as well. Medium-bodied and lively with a long finish. Well-balanced and extremely smooth.
Quality: 4 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 4 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Winery, $20; Ultimate Wine Shop (New Jersey), $24.99

2008 Nefarious Defiance Vineyard Viognier (Columbia Valley, WA): Straw yellow. Apricot and white peach come through on both the nose and palate. Medium-bodied and crisp with a long finish. Fresh, refreshing, and smooth. Well-balanced.
Quality: 4 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 4 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Winery, $19

2007 Maryhill Viognier (Columbia Valley, WA): Pale, straw yellow. A bit tight on the nose at first. Fresh, floral aromas and flavors. Light-bodied and crisp with a long finish. This wine really improves with food.
Quality: 3.5 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 4 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Fred Meyer (Seattle, WA), $12; Available elsewhere, $13 to $15

2008 Benson Vineyards Viognier (Chelan County, WA): Pale, straw yellow. Citrus aromas, particularly grapefruit, dominate the nose. More citrus comes through on the palate. Medium-bodied and crisp with a long finish. Lots of acidity, shows some similarities to a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc.
Quality: 3.5 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 2 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Winery, $19

2008 Seven Hills Talcott Vineyards Viognier (Columbia Valley, WA): Pale, straw yellow. Aromas of sweet citrus, cinnamon, and butternut squash. Some burnt rubber comes through on the palate. Very light-bodied and lively with a long, somewhat bitter, finish.
Quality: 3 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 2 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Pete’s Wine Shop—Eastside (Bellevue, WA), $16; Winery, $20

2008 Bergevin Lane Viognier (Columbia Valley, WA): Greenish, straw yellow. Aromas and flavors of popcorn, honey, and burnt toast. Medium-bodied and lively with a long, slightly bitter, finish.
Quality: 3 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 1 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Winery, $25; Available elsewhere, $25 to $26


Filed under: American Wine, Viognier, Washington State Wine, White Wine, Wine Tasting Dinners, Wines Over $25, Wines Under $15, Wines Under $20, Wines Under $25

Reader's Comments

  1. Jared | August 6th, 2009 at 2:17 pm

    Hey guys, great tasting. I’d say viognier is the toughest white varietal to find any relative cohesion of quality to price. They all seem to be in the $20-$25 range. Like you, I’ve found the K Vintners version to be one of the better ones produced in Wa State. Mark Ryan also makes a nice one and Cayuse makes a very Rhone like viogier that needs two-three years to integrate. I’ll look forward to trying the Nefarious when I’m in Lake Chelan in two weeks!

  2. Bean | August 7th, 2009 at 12:00 am

    We have really enjoyed two other Washington Viogniers this year. Ed’s clear favorite is Alexandria Nicole but we also really like the one from William Church.

  3. WineLife365 | August 7th, 2009 at 7:26 am

    Hi Kori,
    That dinner sounds incredible! If my mom ever made a meal like that, I’d consider moving back in and never leaving…

    All joking aside, I would love to make this menu for my wife and friends. Would your mom be willing to divulge her secret recipes to a Poor Man’s Chef?

    As for the Washington State Viognier, your top picks sound wonderful. Unfortunately for me, they’re not available in Delaware. –Boo Delaware!

    Cheers!
    Mark

  4. Kori | August 9th, 2009 at 12:28 am

    Sorry for the delay in replying to your comments. We’re spending a long weekend in the Okanagan Valley of BC and have limited internet access.

    Jared,
    I don’t believe I’ve had the Mark Ryan Viognier. I’ll have to check it out. Have a great time in Chelan! Sure hope you enjoy Nefarious.

    Bean,
    Thanks for the recommendations. I’ve had previous vintages of Alexandria Nicole but don’t believe I’ve had their current one.

    Mark,
    Mom is very flattered that you’re interested in her menu and said she’d be happy to share her recipes. I’ll have her email you directly when we return home.

    Cheers!

  5. WineLife365 | August 9th, 2009 at 4:41 am

    Thanks Kori. Hope that you’re having a good time.

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