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The Best Viognier to Drink Right Now

The Best Viognier to Drink Right Now

Viognier (pronounced VEE-oh-nyay) is a white grape variety historically grown in France’s Rhône Valley. Full-bodied and aromatically intense, it is sometimes blended with other white Rhône varietals like Marsanne and Roussanne. 

Though Viognier has long been made into stand-alone varietal wines, it has garnered a reputation for creating wines that are considered overly rich and thick. But that’s no longer accurate. 

Winemakers in both Viognier’s traditional home and growing regions across the globe are increasingly flipping the script and “consistently producing elegant renditions,” says Anna-Christina Cabrales, Wine Enthusiast’s Tasting Director and resident Rhône reviewer. “Gone are the days where Viognier is just really fat and dense.”

These single-varietal bottles span a wide range of textures and aromas, making them ideal partners for boldly flavored fare like Indian cuisine, complex Thai dishes and Filipino classics.

In hotter vintages, Viognier wines often take on tropical, ginger and ripe citrus flavors. In cooler growing seasons, Viognier’s tropical, ginger and ripe citrus flavors take on a leaner expression. In these instances, lemongrass and spices, like white pepper and saffron, also join the mix.

The best examples deliver ethereal, elegant qualities. “It doesn’t feel like you are chomping into a bowl of fruit cocktail Jell-O,” she says. “It’s like a ballerina that dances across the palate.”

No matter the year or the region, however, these wines warrant exploration. “If people have not picked up a glass of Viognier recently, they should,” says Cabrales. 

We decided it was time to round up the top bottles on the market. From the Condrieu to California to Australia’s Eden Valley, these Viognier wines deserve space on your buying list.

E. Guigal 2020 Viognier (Condrieu)

An exuberance of perfectly ripe yellow and white peaches, apricots, melon, pineapple and delicate white floral aromas overflow from the glass. The palate is luxurious and balanced, with an abundance of melon, dehydrated pineapple, apricot, quince, candied ginger and oak spice. Impressive acidity accentuates its stone finish and helps reset the palate for another sip. Cellar Selection. 96 Points  — Anna-Christina Cabrales


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