THE WINE SPY: Yalumba Eden Valley Viognier

By Beacon Staff

A full-bodied white wine like a Viognier (vee-ohn-yay) is a great match with the rosemary, thyme and garlic in the adjacent pork recipe. For years I shied away from Viognier wines because, quite frankly. I was embarrassed to mispronounce at the wine store. As I continue to expand my wine repertoire with the help of a few experts in the valley, I’ve discovered that there are some terrific options outside my normal comfort zone of Chardonnay.

The experts claim that Viognier is a rising star that is growing in popularity with both drinkers and growers alike. The clean tastes can stimulate the palate making it enjoyable with a variety of foods or on its own. This wine from the Barossa valley is the first Australian winery to commercially plant Voignier. Robert Hill Smith of Yalumba says about Voignier, “It’s a naturally opulent fruit style, so the challenge is constraining it a bit.”

Layman’s Review: As a Chardonnay lover, I was pleasantly surprised at the crisp taste of this Viognier wine. The initial scent was a bit like a strong spice, then I tasted a touch of peach with a very smooth tasting wine. Enjoyable enough to keep trying wines out of my comfort zone.

Expert’s Review: Beguiling and seductive aromas of honeysuckle and quince glide effortlessly through the rich apricot and pear flavors that are seen through the long, silk-textured finish. Nobody does it better than Yalumba when creating world-class, yet affordable Viognier. Australia’s oldest family-owned winery continues to take this varietal seriously and through its own nursery program actually sell vine cuttings to the great French Viognier masters like Yves Cuilleron and George Vernay in Condrieu, whose wines routinely sell for over $125 a bottle. Why pay more?

Rating: Wine Spectator’s “Top 100 Wines” last year

Specialty Priced: $15.99 (Coffee Cellar, Bigfork)

Retail Priced: $17.99-$18.50

Available at these fine wine shops: Coffee Cellar, Markus Foods and Uncorked. Montana Liquor and Wine has many other Yalumba wines, although not this varietal.

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