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Viognier gains strength with Northwest wine lovers
Across the Northwest, the difficult-to-grow and hard-to-pronounce Viognier is gaining in popularity.
The white Rhône Valley variety, which was nearly extinct half-century ago, is picking up momentum with consumers and winemakers.
Viognier (pronounced VEE-own-yay) is not an easy grape to work with. It seems to grow best in cooler regions where it can retain acidity. Pick it a week early and it makes a boring wine. Pick it a week late and it’s oily and unattractive. But hit that sweet spot and you can end up with a wondrous wine that exhibits aromas and flavors of orange cream soda and exotic spices.
While it is grown throughout the Northwest, the largest plantings are in Washington, where about 2,000 tons are harvested and crushed each fall.
Here are examples of Viogniers we’ve tasted recently from Washington, British Columbia and Idaho.