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Viognier Wine Pairing

Viognier's home is France, especially in the northern Rhône Valley regions of Condrieu and Château-Grillet (the latter has just ten acres and one owner), where it's the only white grape used and produces magnificently fragrant, voluptuous and expensive wines. It's also grown in Languedoc, Roussillon, Provence, Australia, Brazil, California, Oregon and Washington.

The grape is difficult to grow because its prone to mildew and produces small yields. If left to overripen, it will have a bland, winery taste and high alcohol. Signature aromas include ripe apricots, orange blossoms, peaches, mango, pineapple, guava, kiwi, tangerine, honeysuckle, spring blossoms, musk and acacia. Viognier often has a viscous, opulent, creamy texture, even without oak aging. With oak aging, it also has notes of butter, cream, oak, smoke, tobacco and toast. Late-harvest and dessert styles have deeply ripe tropical fruit aromas.

Viognier is as intensely aromatic as Gewürztraminer and suffers the same problem of being difficult to pronounce. To wit: VEE-ohn-yay. Viognier is often blended with other white grapes, such as Marsanne, Rousanne, Chardonnay, Grenache Blanc and Chenin Blanc. Sometimes, Viognier is blended with Syrah in the Rhône Valley's Côte Rotie or with Shiraz in Australia to soften the red wine and to give it an aromatic lift. This "seasoning" of about five percent of Viognier also helps stablize the wine's color and enrichs its texture.

Viognier is best consumed young, no more than three to four years after its vintage date before its heady, hedonistic fragrance fades. The exceptions are those made in the Condrieu and Château-Grillet, which can age for decades because they're aged in oak for several months before bottling.

Pair Viognier with mild curries, grilled fish, scallops, shrimp glazed ham, grilled chicken, oily nuts such as macadamias and cashews, Emmental cheese, chicken in a ginger or orange sauce, turkey tetrazzini, chicken korma or tika, fried food, sashimi, sushi, lamb tagine with raisins, almonds and honey, butternut squash risotto, pork chops, smoked ham, tarragon, lobster thermidore, carrot soup and roast vegetables.

Viognier Wine with appetizers:

     • beef jerky
     • nuts: oily (macadamia, cashews)

Viognier Wine with cheese:

     • blue cheese
     • blue: paradise
     • Emmental Grand Cru
     • gorgonzola

Viognier Wine with chicken/poultry:

     • chicken
     • chicken in a ginger, orange sauce
     • chicken with pancetta & herbs
     • chicken/turkey tetrazzini, cream casserole
     • poultry: honey-roast
     • turkey with traditional trimmings

Viognier Wine with ethnic dishes:

     • Beef: Kung Pao/Po
     • chicken korma
     • chicken tika
     • curries: creamy
     • curries: lightly spiced
     • curries: spicy
     • curry: coconut: mild
     • deep fried food
     • hummus
     • Indian dishes
     • sashimi
     • shrimp: coconut: Thai
     • spicy food
     • spring rolls
     • sushi
     • Thai dishes

Viognier Wine with goat:

     • goat

Viognier Wine with lamb:

     • lamb tagine with raisins, almonds & honey

Viognier Wine with nuts:

     • almonds

Viognier Wine with pasta:

     • risotto with butternut squash
     • risotto with lemon-mint

Viognier Wine with pizza:

     • pizza: fungi
     • pizza: pesto

Viognier Wine with pork:

     • ham and melon
     • ham: smoked
     • pork chops with maple glaze
     • pork chops: grilled

Viognier Wine with sauces, spices, herbs:

     • anise, fennel
     • caraway
     • dill
     • sauce: butter, beurre blanc
     • sauce: seafood: cream-based
     • tarragon

Viognier Wine with seafood & shellfish:

     • clam chowder: cream base
     • coquilles st. jacques
     • fish: smoked
     • halibut with orange & salsa verde
     • lobster
     • lobster thermidore
     • salmon: grilled
     • salmon: poached
     • seafood casserole
     • shrimp cocktail

Viognier Wine with soups & stews:

     • soup: chicken
     • soup: french onion

Viognier Wine with turkey holiday dinner:

     • turducken

Viognier Wine with vegetables & salads:

     • carrot soup
     • mushrooms: smoked
     • parsnips: spiced
     • peppers: chili
     • pumpkin dishes
     • salad: field greens
     • squash: baked
     • sweet-potatoes with marshmallows
     • vegetables: roast


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