Wine Tasting Dinner: Washington Viognier



By Kori ~ September 26th, 2011.

Friday was the official first day of fall. However, it was more beautiful and sunny here in Seattle than most days this summer. It was a 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. All of the wines paired wonderfully with LaGayle’s (Mom’s) dinner of cumin seasoned tomato soup, arugula peach salad, chicken curry with rice, sautéed zucchini with red bell peppers, and coconut cake for dessert.

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.

The consensus favorite was the 2010 Nefarious Cellars Defiance Vineyard Viognier. The husband-wife winemaking team of Dean and Heather Neff founded Nefarious Cellars in 2005. Heather handles the white winemaking duties while Dean is in charge of the reds. Located in Chelan, Washington, Nefarious produces about 2,000 cases per year. Their winery and estate vineyard are situated on the South Shore of Lake Chelan and boast gorgeous views of the lake.

From 1st to last in the group consensus rankings:

2010 Nefarious Cellars Defiance Vineyard Viognier (Defiance Vineyard, Lake Chelan, Washington): Pale straw yellow. Nice nose with apple, pear, white peach, and floral notes. Lemon peel, lime, pear, and a hint of grapefruit come through on the palate. Medium-bodied with crisp acidity. Well-balanced with a long, refreshing finish.
Quality: 4 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 4 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Full Pull Wines (Seattle, Washington), $17; Available elsewhere, $19

2009 Alexandria Nicole Cellars Reserve Viognier (Destiny Ridge Vineyard, Horse Heaven Hills, Washington): Pale straw yellow. Aromatic with citrus fruits, apple, and oak on the nose. Lemon, lime, pear, and floral notes come through on the palate. Medium-bodied and crisp with a long, refreshing finish.
Quality: 3.5 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 1 bang for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Winery, $28

2009 Maryhill Winery Viognier (Columbia Valley, Washington): Pale straw yellow in color. Nose is a bit tight at first, then aromas of pear, oak, and vanilla come through. Creamy on the palate with flavors of pear, vanilla, and a hint of coconut. Medium-bodied and lively with a long finish.
Quality: 3.5 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 3 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Winery, $15

2009 àMaurice Cellars Viognier (Columbia Valley, Washington): Pale straw yellow. Nice nose with pear, white peach, and floral aromas. Lime, lemon peel, white peach, and floral notes come through on the palate. Medium-bodied with crisp acidity and a long, refreshing finish.
Quality: 3.5 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 1 bang for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Wine World (Seattle, Washington), $25; Available elsewhere, $25

2009 Mark Ryan Winery Viognier (Columbia Valley, Washington): Pale straw yellow. Aromatic with white peach, lime, and floral notes on the nose. White peach, lime, melon, and almonds on the palate. Medium-bodied and crisp with a long finish.
Quality: 3.5 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 1 bang for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Wine World (Seattle, Washington), $27; Available elsewhere, $24 to $29

2009 Watermill Winery Viognier (Columbia Valley, Washington): Pale straw yellow. Aromatic with pear, apricot, floral notes, and a hint of honey on the nose. Apricot, pear, and buttery popcorn come through on the palate. Medium-bodied and lively with a medium to long finish.
Quality: 3 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 2 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Winery, $16; Available elsewhere, $17


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

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