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29 August 2006

VdP Viognier Gone Wild?

Viogonewild "..some of the most robust viognier plants in Condrieu."

There seems to be a trend in importer Eric Solomon's portfolio of wines custom blended for the U.S. market.  I've seen a number of his European Cellars' Spanish selections labeled as such.  Southern France appears to be next up on the Solomon custom cuvee list.  For example, take Domaine de la Janasse's VdP (Vin de Pays - essentially a notch below the AOC system) Viognier.  Here's what Robert Parker says about the '04 vintage:

Rating:    88 points Drink:    2006-2007
The 2004 Viognier VDP d’Orange reveals copious quantities of orange marmalade, litchi, and mango notes in its exotic personality. Drink it over the next year.  (Parker, 02/06)

Nice Bob, but is this description for the scent?  For the flavor?  Exactly what will this wine do in my mouth?  And, should one purchase this 88-point wine based on big Parks' adjectival alliteration?

According to the description of this wine on the European Cellars site, this Viognier is made from, "some of the most robust viognier plants in Condrieu."  Does that mean the grapes going into Dom. de la Janasse's wine are from overgrown, weedy, unruly vines?  I'm confused.

OK.  I'll sample the wine.

Delajanasse_viognier The Skinny
Domaine de la Janasse Viognier VdP d'Orange 2004 (~$25)

  • Imported by European Cellars; 14% alcohol; 100% Viognier from declassified Condrieu vines
  • Pale white gold in color
  • Potent, exotic scents of ripe peach, lychee, candied orange and pineapple
  • In the mouth, this wine is night & day from beginning to end. Janasse Viognier initially introduces itself as a lovely, simple Viognier - full-bodied, rich texture and offering exotic fruit flavors.  Unfortunately, the finish is a bit off-putting.  The wine seemed to possess a slightly green, vegetal finish, which overshadowed its otherwise enticing qualities.  I sampled this wine solo; and with a few small bites.  With food, the vegetal quality was muted
  • Verdict: Not Recommended (sad to say)

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Currently viognier is all that is on my mind! I absolutely adore this varietal and I must mention a fabulous one from Washington State that I was recently introduced to. A beautiful 2005 viognier by Syncline located in the Columbia Valley. This wine exhibited everything that I respect most in a white varietal. Great weight, a lovely rich full mouth feel that finishes with lively acidity. Gorgeous fruit of luscious honeysuckle and apricot, it was perfect in my mind. I loved this wine and look forward to more if I can get a case?!

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Very interesting. Some of the wine names like "Sherry" goes back to the 15th century. It is always good to know the history and where the name came from. Sometimes names, are just names, nothing attached to them. When history attached to wine name, you feel the taste of it!

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