I really think that over the next 3-5 years we’ll see Viognier step up on a very national and global scale of being one of the big “go-to” grapes as a very food-friendly white wine choice. It has the complexity we love, the fruit we cherish and has tons of potential for even further greatness. Once more drinkers catch the “Viognier bug” we’ll see it really pick up. My wife and I have been diggin’ on Viognier for several years now – it really is the perfect migration wine for those who are burnt-out on Chardonnay.
Whitman Cellars in Walla Walla Washington has received a large number of accolades since it launched in 1998 by founders John Edwards and Larry * Sally Thomason. They hired winemaker, Steve Lessard in 2002 and haven’t looked back since.
Steve’s ability to churn out quality wines at the prices Whitman sells them for has proved to be a good model for the company overall as his efforts provide – what most folks think – is a good balance of quality and price. His background at top California producers like Stag’s Leap paved the way for his passion to take the best fruit he can get his hands on in Washington and make wines from that fruit that’ll strike a chord with people.
* Blend: 100% Viognier
* Vineyard Source: Cougar Hills, Willard
* Total Acidity: 0.68 grams/100ml
* pH: 3.52
* Alcohol: 13.8%
* Aged for 2 months on New French Oak
* Production: 497 Cases
* Price: $19.00
Nose: Lemongrass with hints of marshmallows, lavender, Post Grape Nuts cereal, some beach sand and spice and Kiwi peel.
Taste: Grapefruit pulp, white concord grape skin, starfruit, kiwi and a hint of toasty lime. Incredibly clean finish which lingers quite nicely with spice and tropical fruits. Excellent balance of acidity, fruit and oak.
There will be some folks who don’t like this wine – the kind of folks who are now what I call “stainless purists” and that’s fine. Personally, I prefer low oak and this wine pleases me because it doesn’t have too much oak – just enough to give it that ever-so-slight texture and toastiness. It has a good mouthfeel, good flavors and would be a natural pairing for spicey foods and shellfish.
At $19 it’s priced at a point of many Washington Viogniers we see coming out right now and I fully understand that for most people,that’s a bit on the high side for their white wine purchases. However, I think it does a very good job of delivering “the goods” for its price and would easily recommend it to folks.
W.E.P. Score: 100%