Viognier, pronounced “Vee-onn-yee”, is a green grape from France that is increasing in acreage in all countries where it is planted.
Viognier is one of the varieties that is fairly high in aromas, hence the wines have a tendency to be a bit perfumed. Acidity levels are medium high.
Viognier used to be a bit of a tricky grape to grow as it was quite sensitive, which actually led to it almost becoming extinct in the middle of the twentieth century. New clones have however taken care of this and it has grown rapidly in the last thirty years.
Aromas and flavours are above all of apricots, but also honeysuckle, white flowers, and some sweet spiciness.
Some of the best expressions of dry varietal Viognier you will find in Condrieu and Château-Grillet in Northern Rhône. But there are several very interesting Viognier from other countries as well.
When it comes to food pairing, Viognier is a versatile grape that will work well with roasted chicken as well as with various fish dishes. The wine is best served at 8-10°C/46-50°F.
Where is it grown?
Viognier is a variety that has increased dramatically and is now the sixtieth most planted variety on the planet (a “jump” of ninety-nine steps in world ranking in ten years). Its total plantings are reported to be 11.847 ha/29,274 ac, corresponding to an increase of two-hundred and seventy-five percent.
In France, plantings are focused to the southern parts of the country, especially in the Languedoc-Roussillon (2.298 ha/5,678 ac) and in the Rhône Valley (2.248 ha/5,555 ac).
In Australia, Viognier is planted in many districts, mostly with an acreage smaller than 50 ha/124 ac. Riverina (309 ha/764 ac), Riverland (148 ha/366 ac), and Murray-Darling (100 ha/247 ac) are the ones with the largest areas planted with the variety.
USA shows a pattern similar to the one in Australia, with most plantings in California’s Central Valley, more specifically in San Joaquin. In Italy, almost all plantings are in Sicily, in Trapani, Agrigento, and Palermo.
- France 4.823 ha/11,917 ac (a tenfold increase), MPG 22
- Australia 1.402 ha/3,465 ac (a hundred-fold increase), MPG 14
- USA 1.374 ha/3,396 (a threefold increase), MPG 23
- Italy 1.210 ha/2,9916 (a forty-fold increase), MPG 9
- South Africa 892 ha/2,205 ac (a sixteen-fold increase), MPG 15
- Argentina 816 ha/2,016 ac (a fourfold increase), MPG 23
- Chile 753 ha/1,861 ac (a fivefold increase), MPG 15
Plantings are also reported from an additional eleven countries (sorted in order of decreasing acreage, from 163 ha/403 ac to 1 ha/2,4 ac); New Zealand, Portugal, Canada, Spain, Uruguay, Switzerland, Romania, Turkey, Brazil, Hungary, Thailand.
Viognier is recognised as having its origin in Northern Rhône, where it has been documented for approximately two-hundred and fifty years.