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For the love of Viognier

The Viognier grape variety originated in France, around Condrieu in the northern Rhône, but due to its difficult nature to grow and control - it fell out of favor and by the mid-20th century it had almost disappeared. Fortunately, there has been a renaissance over the last 50 years and the Viognier grape has been firmly re-established on the world stage, with - we believe - the best examples still coming from France.

Laurent planted Viognier for the first time in 1992 and we were the pioneers of this grape variety in Languedoc. Laurent and Henri recognised that Viognier grows well on similar soil and in similar climatic conditions to Syrah. The vines were planted in a north-south direction, protecting the grapes with the canopy of leaves from the scorching midday sun. This also helps retain acidity because the grapes ripen more slowly and evenly – acidity is the holy grail when it comes to Viognier. It tends towards higher potential alcohol and lower acidity, so it is important to manage it well in order to optimise the beautiful profile of ripe, exotic tropical fruits, without risking falling into an overripe and flabby style.

We are very careful in our winemaking with Viognier. We are fortunate to have many old, healthy vines that produce small yields of highly concentrated grapes. We harvest at night to preserve the acidity and freshness and we obtain a very pure juice from gentle pressing, while retaining the aromatic quality of this grape variety. Viognier is fresh and juicy when young and unoaked, and is a nice alternative to Pinot Grigio and unoaked Chardonnay – good examples would be Vendanges Nocturnes Viognier and Solas Viognier. It also loves oxygen so you can happily consume your wine over a few days without worrying about spoilage (although we recommend storing it in the refrigerator).

The Viognier grape variety pairs well with oak, especially when produced from old vines. The Lieu- dit La Verité Viognier wine comes from our oldest vines and 70% is aged in new French oak barrels for 12 months, adding complexity and depth to the wine. La Verité 2021 recently scored 94 points with Decanter and 93 points with Tim Atkin. Pair Viognier with any spicy food, especially Thai, Middle Eastern, or other Asian-inspired dishes. It is also a great partner for cheese, especially hard cheese like mature Comté.

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