So it was Oliver Reed who once said “I’m only drinking white wine because I’m on a diet and I don’t eat”. ( for those on Facebook , did you get it? ) This was me once , not , I hasten to add on a liquid diet ( slimfast included ) but I had similarly little enthusiasm for white wine. Friends have since combined to convert me into as much a lover of some whites as I am of reds.
Rob Price , proprietor of Birmingham Wine School, sparked my interest in Viognier. When we first met for a chat about the school we shared a glass at the excellent Rose & Crown pub in Warwick. He chose a Viognier and me a white Rioja. I made a mental note to try it and boy am I glad I did.
Auberon Waugh in his ‘perils of being a wine writer’ commented “wine writing should be camped up, the writer should never like a wine, he [ or she tut tut Auberon ] should be in love with it, never find a wine disappointing but identify it as his mortal enemy”. Well here goes…… darlings!
Whilst I’m not quite sure I want to skip down the aisle with this variety just yet I’m certainly up for a second date. If Sauvignon Blanc is the Maria Callas of the wine world , Viognier surely has to be the wonderful Katherine Jenkins. Voluptuous, rich, deep but smooth and mellow at the same time ( I’m talking voices here ……just to be clear😳 ) In fact if I had to cast two grapes in the Bachanalian version of Delibes ‘Flower Duet’ it would be these two. Both floral and aromatic with the richness of the Viognier balancing the fresh acidity of the Sauvignon.
I picked up this Southern French Viognier from http://www.vinneuf.co.uk at their excellent upstairs concession at http://www.thefarmstratford.com. I think this is pretty good for the price at £10.99 and is a little fresher and more restrained than other Viogniers I’ve tried. A veritable blast of flowers greets the nose followed by piles of green apple and peach. On the palate it is characteristically viscous and mouth filling with a sweetish start. It then has a lingering cuddle of a finish with only a faint touch of marzipan like bitterness. Partnered up an absolute treat with our smoked salmon risotto. 8/10 Well done Vin Neuf.