September 1, 2014

What We’re Drinking

Alban Vineyards ViognierRight now, i am loving Alban Viognier

Viognier is a white wine grape, most commonly associated with the Rhone valley. Several white Rhone grape varieties have made their way to the New World. Of those, Viognier produces the lightest wine and is distinguished by its lovely floral aromatics. Its body and flavor profile are perfect for the warm weather here in Southwest Florida. 

In general, Viognier is best when consumed young, and quality Viogniers can be found in the vineyards of the northern Rhone, Condrieu and Languedoc regions, plus California and Australia. Frequently either Marsanne or Roussanne is added to create a blend, but my favorite examples are pure Viognier. Noteworthy producers of Viognier include Pride, DuMol and D’Arenberg. However, my perennial favorite is from Alban Vineyards. 

Alban produces two Viogniers—a very affordable and quite lovely Viognier from the Central Coast region of California (around $25 a bottle) as well as a single vineyard Viognier from its estate, which retails between $50 and $60 a bottle. Alban’s estate bottled Viognier is slightly richer and deeper without being heavy. Its Central Coast bottling is a bit livelier and perfect for dining al fresco.

—John Vega is a Naples attorney and wine aficionado.

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