Viognier is a white-wine grape variety known for producing textural, aromatic wines with pronounced stonefruit flavors — apricots and steel are the variety’s classic flavor associations. On the nose, Viognier wines can also be very herbal, with aromas of chamomile, lavender, thyme and even a hint of pine. It needs an extended period in order to ripen, which is why it is best known in the upper Rhone valley, in Condrieu. More value-oriented examples can be found in the Languedoc. Fun fact: In a 1968 French agricultural survey, it was estimated that plantings of Viognier in France had shrunk to 35 acres. In his first book, Wines of the Rhône Valley & Provence published in the 1980s, American wine critic Robert Parker Jr. waxed so eloquently about Condrieu and Viognier that, within a matter of years acreage of the grape had virtually exploded across the globe. By 2010, it was estimated that there were close to 11,000 acres in France alone, and acreage elsewhere was approaching 25,000 around the world.


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