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Vee-Oh-What?

Viognier may be an acquired taste, but frankly, so is all wine. It’s one of my favorite whites, and its relative thickness – think of viscosity in the context of an oil change in your car, but in a good way – powerful aromas, and hint of honey even when it’s bone-dry are my favorite characteristics. “Experts” will tell you that the best ones come from France’s Condrieu region, and here in the US, good wines with that name (appellation) can fetch $60-80-100. Yep.

So until fairly recently, those prices, its tough-to-pronounce name (“Vee-uh-nyay”) and the fact that it wasn’t grown or sold much as a named varietal rather than by the place name meant that few people outside wine circles had heard of or tasted it. And when I went to a wine store in Edison, NJ two years ago in search of some, the response from the 20-something salesman was “Is that a country?” Aside from my dismay at the ‘state’ of geographic ignorance, well, you get the point.

So that’s why I’m thrilled to see this post from Dezel’s Virginia Wine Spot blog about a blind tasting of Viognier held recently in Loudon County, Virginia, outside D.C. It’s important to note that Virginia is a pretty impressive producer of Viognier, and you might have expected a native son-wine to take home the prize, somehow, even in a blind tasting.

It didn’t. The winner? A six-buck offering from California, Honey Moon 2007, which you can get at Trader Joe’s.

Rather than my ramble on about how wonderful these wines are, I suggest you read the post, do a bit of research online and then ask your retailer the next time you pop in. I do cover Viognier in my Grapes and Wines section.

Sic Semper Tyrannis.

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