So many of us this time of year want to get home from work, or go home for the holidays, and draw every curtain around, light a fire in the ol’ xmas hearth and pop open a big bottle of red. It’s just natural, especially in sub zero weather, to not want a cold beverage. But sometimes it’s not so much the temperature of the beverage as it is the weight that red’s have in your mouth that make you feel comforted.
Although my Christmas doesn’t involve sub zero weather this year I’ve been drinking some amazing Viognier down under here and have been thinking about not only how great it would go with all that Christmas food, but how great a good heavy white is for all those that either aren’t red drinkers, or who just want something a little more refreshing.
For all y’all who are like “viognier whaaaa?”, it’s a french grape that is so diverse that it really doesn’t get the recognition it deserves. I know not everyone are Chardonnay drinkers, which I have beef with and is a WHOLE OTHER TOPIC *wags finger*, so I’m giving you Viognier. Stats? Originally from the Rhone Valley in France, can stand on it’s own or be excellently blended with other grapes, characteristically floral with apricot, tropical fruit and orange nose and palate, low acidity with that creamy unacidic mouth feel, and dry to off-dry depending on the wine maker. All in all very diverse though. So here are three options for that hefty glass of white that might carry you from turkey and ham through to pumpkin pie. God I’m gonna miss pumpkin pie this year.
I’ve only recently had this while I was here so it’s fresh in my mind, but D’Arenberg is absolutely one of my favourite wine producers especially in the Australian category. This is a blend of about three quarters Viognier and a quarter Marsanne, which is a french blending grape, and gives you everything you want from a big heavy white. You get limes and lemons without the searing acidity, and all that orchard fruit like apricot and peaches and pears. All the usual floralness is subdued to the background by the Marsanne, and I’m thinking this is lightly oaked from the chewy caramel finish it has. Like really taking a bite of nutty butterscotch. Don’t get these dessert references mixed up though, this wine is dry, and worth every penny at your local specialty wine store.
Another blend on the list but a totally different animal. An unpretentious frenchy. All the creamy heavy mouthfeel of the first blend but with a touch of 0ff-dryness to this one for those of you like me who like the fruit forward and only a touch sweet ones. A little more on the floral side with this one, like white blossoms, but that’s because Muscat, being mostly a dessert and sweet sparkling grape, has the floral qualities as well. This is a bronze, silver, and gold winner in different wine awards and gives you everything you want from a fruit salad. Unlike the first it’s more on the tropical side with the heavy mango and pineapple palate, and just a hint of acidity to cut through that turkey. Actually we sell this at Denman Place Wines.
And finally something more local (for you) and from BC although not in the local liquor stores. This is definitely something to seek out though even if around the $30 mark. It’s a special occasion white and the kind where you’ll be sticking ur tongue in the neck of the bottle for the last drop. The “Jackpot” series is the upper tier of Road 13’s products so it’s a little hard to come by, but I’m giving you this as an if-you-come-across-it. List ’em out: peach, apricot, melons like honeydew and cantaloupe, and that oily mouthfeel that goes with the fruit as well. Not just creamy. Oily. Complex. But still refreshing with that heavyness that could go with a ham even. Great texture and flavour and complexity. Just keeps changing in your mouth and opening up with different flavours. You can’t get bored of this wine.
So even though those are just three examples, go experiment with Viognier’s you can find in your area or your liquor store! They’re delicious this time of year when a glass of red won’t do. And if a glass of red WILL do, just know that Australia has this nasty little habit (and delicious like the Gemtree blend available in BC liquor stores now) of blending Shiraz with Viognier. I know right? It’s literally only 3-5% Viognier, but putting that white grape with the red, will literally blow your mind. Go crazy this christmas and wow your guests/family with a little french grape culture.