(Pronounced – vee-OWN-yay)
Viognier is the sexy new variety of the wine industry. Viognier, like Shiraz, originated on the slopes of the northern Rhône Valley appellations of Condrieu and Chateau Grillet, in the south of France, and is well suited to Australian conditions. Viognier has found prominence in Australia of late for it ability to produce rich, fragrant, fruit-driven white wines.
Almost extinct by 1968, when only 14 hectares survived, Viognier slowly returned to prominence until the interest in the varieties of the Rhône Valley exploded late last century. In Australia alone there is now over 540 hectares planted under Viognier vines.
Although Viognier has been shown to work best in the temperate to warm climates, like the Eden Valley, Adelaide Hills, Goulburn Valley and McLaren Vale, it was in the cool climate region of Mornington Peninsula where the oldest vines can be found.
The better producers of Viognier in Australia are Yalumba, Eden & Barossa Valleys (by far the leaders in the variety); by Farr, Geelong; Trentham, Murray Darling; Petaluma, Adelaide Hills; Mr. Riggs, Adelaide Hills; Tahbilk, Nagambie Lakes; Haan Wines, Eden Valley; Elgee Park, Mornington Peninsula; Clonakilla, Canberra; d’Arenberg, McLaren Vale.
In France, they believe that Viognier only reaches its peak when the vines get to 20 to 30 years of age, so you can expect to see big things from Australian Viognier in the future.