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Viognier gaining in Northwest popularity
As the Pacific Northwest – particularly Washington and Southern Oregon – focus more and more on Rhône-style wines, Viognier has come much more into vogue.
The white wine grape is traditionally from the Condrieu area of France’s Northern Rhône Valley. Elsewhere in the Rhône, Viognier often is blended with Roussanne and Marsanne. Here in the Northwest, many winemakers are experimenting with Viognier, primarily as a stand-alone wine but also with other grapes, including Pinot Gris and Chardonnay.
Viognier is a finicky grape. It grows uneven clusters, and getting it just ripe – without being overripe – is a challenge. As a result, cooler areas where the grapes can hang a little longer without fear of becoming too ripe will tend to produce superior wines.
Here are a dozen delicious examples of Viognier that we’ve tasted recently from Washington and Oregon. Ask for them at your favorite wine shop or contact the wineries directly.