White wine drinkers who’ve maxed out on Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc may want to give Viognier (vee-oh-nyay) a try. This Rhône varietal is becoming increasingly popular thanks to the grape’s exceptional character and complexity. Its most notable feature? A heady floral aroma, often associated with honeysuckle, apricots, and pears.
In recent years, several Colorado wineries have added Viognier to their lineup. Give these diverse bottles a try:
To impress your friends, try the Sutcliffe Vineyards 2007. This elegant, full-bodied Viognier has flavors of tropical fruit and peaches. Serve with dried fruit and stinky cheese.
If you like spicier sips, pick up the Bookcliff Vineyards 2008. The wine smells of cantaloupe and honeydew melon, and carries a bit of hot spice on the finish. It’s great with creamy salmon fettuccine.
If you prefer more texture and tannins, buy Balistreri Vineyards 2008. The winery ferments its white wines on the skins of the grapes (and bottles it unfiltered), which gives it more depth than a typical white. Pair with charcuterie.
On the other hand, if you’re looking for a light sipper, pour the Garfield Estates Vineyard & Winery 2009, which is light and smooth with a hint of pear. You don’t need food with this one—only a porch swing and a warm afternoon.
Hint: Don’t over-chill Viognier. If you do, you won’t taste or smell the impressive floral characteristics.