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The French Don't Know Dick About Viognier!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Last week, I was offered a glass of Viognier at one of my favorite spots to imbibe wine. I asked who made it, and initially turned my nose up when it was revealed to be a French wine (this was because I have only had one good Viognier and one good Viognier blend, and these were both American). Well, the proprietor [who is also a sommelier], and the bartender, who also has been selling wine for decades both were shocked that I would say such a thing, but then I went on about the much ballyhooed, and false, idea that the French are the masters of wine and food.

Just because something comes from your country, or that you invented something, doesn't mean that you’re the best at it. The best pizza in Italy is now being made by immigrants from North Africa and the Middle East that have brought their grains to the dough recipe. The best, and most flavorful, Sauvignon Blancs seem to come from Australia, New Zealand and South America. Two American wines beat out a bunch of French wines in an international competition (see the movie Bottle Shock, and the wines were from Chateau Montelena and Chalone). The best Tempranillo wines that I have had come from California (via a winemaker originally from Hoboken, New Jersey) and South America; both are very full-bodied and captivating to all wine drinkers, instead of being that dry wine from Spain (Rioja, Crianza, etc.). And basketball was invented by a white guy from Canada, yet their national sport is hockey. Can you catch my drift?

The best Viognier that I have had is by Christine Andrew, a sub-label/imprint of Ironstone Vineyards, whose Obsession (made from the Symphony grape) I have been drinking for at least seven years. The Viogner blend I refer to is a Chenin Blanc/Viognier mix from Pine Ridge.

Well, for our first taping, I procured three bottles of Cono Sur's Vision Pinot Noir, a wine a level above their standard releases. This last time around, I chose to try their Vision level Viognier, giving them a chance. Note: I scoff at many other Viogniers because they are either too gamey, or to awkward for everyday consumption. I will say that this is a wonderful wine, and reaffirmed my belief that the French don't know dick about this grape, or Sauvignon Blanc for that matter. Now truly, they might have one style of doing it, but I don't like it. Call me nouveau wino, but I like the lowrider version of this grape.

And if you French think I am wrong, I will gladly drink your swill until I find one that I approve of.

P.S. I still love your Sauterne though.

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Our Mission: The Black Winer strives to expose African Americans [and others] to wines, without the flair, stuffiness, and airs of elitism and snobbery that you get from sommeliers and high level wine enthusiasts. We believe in finding something that you like the taste of, outside of the basic brands that you have been force-fed over the years through a combination of ethnically targeted advertising, and what people in your family have historically been drinking.

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