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
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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