Viognier Alert

With a 160-plus-year history, this is Australia’s oldest family owned winery being
founded in 1849 by English brewer Samuel Smith in Barossa Valley. Located in
South Australia’s most famous wine-making region, the winery’s name Yalumba
roughly translates to meaning “all the land around” – in one of the local aboriginal
dialects. Originally, a mere 30 acres of vineyard has grown in diversification and
scale, drawing on the output from choice parcels around the town of Angaston,
also known as’ German Pass’: pioneered largely by German immigrants in the
mid-nineteenth century. 50yrs. onward, the Smiths began development of the
flourishing viniculture that now marks the South Australian region as a whole.

The Viognier grape and its resulting varietal wine, is one of the great stories of
recovery and reemergence from near-extinction. In the early 1960’s, only about
80 acres of vine plantings were still active world-wide, all in a cluster in France’s
Northern Rhône Valley. This week’s DéClassé featured vintner was one of a small handful to re-establish the variety in the Eden Valley in the late 1970’s. Arguably,
in spite of a new-found popularity on its own along with its use as a very common blending component with other varieties such as Marsanne and Grenache Blanc, bolstering texture and deepening colour – it remains a niche variety. 

It’s a very difficult grape to grow with consistency, offering highly variable yields
from season to season. Since it’s thick-skinned, it also requires a lot of sunshine
exposure to bring it through to maturity, though not too much, as this results in
an overly ‘hot’ alcohol content. This week’s recommendation strikes the balance
just right: some steelyness, refreshing, while also fuller-bodied and fulfilling.

Get off the bandwagon of the current stars of often less-characterful, white wine
such as the inexpensive versions of Chardonnay and the like. Get a bottle and try
this fairly well-chilled and while it’s young, before heading back for another.

Yalumba Viognier

VINTAGES – LCBO Product #624502 | 750 mL bottle
Price $ 16.95
14.5% Alcohol/Vol.
Sugar Content Descriptor: XD

Made in: South Australia, Australia
By: Negociants International
Release Date: Oct. 25, 2014

Tasting Note
This bottling is classically typical of the variety. Light, floral aroma and flavour
with notes of stone fruit such as apricot and hints of peach, pineapple and spice
blended into a supple, textured body. Enjoy this somewhat bigger white as apéritif
or with seafood, salads and white-sauced pasta.