September Wine Note: Viogniers

One of the main reasons to go to the Bristol Wine Fair in the 1970s was the chance to taste Condrieu, a small district in the northern Rhone dedicated to an exotic grape variety, Viognier.

It was planted nowhere else and was in danger of becoming extinct; growers were losing patience with its low yield and the need to pick at just the right moment in order to retain both aroma and acidity.

Fortunately, Viognier survived and prospered. Sadly, the Wine Fair didn’t.

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Condrieu is now at least £30 a bottle but, as the BBC says, “other brands are available”.

This Chilean example is currently on offer and is good value. It has the apricot/peach nose that good Viogniers exhibit and just enough acidity to balance its rich but dry character. Drink up, though; Viogniers don’t retain their aroma and acid for long. Buy it now and drink it with chicken or oily fish.

John Freeland (U3A Wine Tasting Group)