Maison Nicolas Perrin Viognier 2014

Light yellow color; pear, peach on the nose; peach, mango, yellow apple, anise, dollop of honey on the palate.

Straightforward, cooler-climate viognier; rich, slightly oily texture in the mouth (a standard viognier characteristic); full body, smooth, good acidity; no oak and no malolactic fermentation allows pure expression of viognier fruit. BTW, pronunciation: vee-yoh-N’YAY.

A classic blending grape in the Rhône (usually with syrah), as a varietal viognier became a darling of the ABC—Anything But Chardonnay—clique in the 21st century. This bottle is collaborative effort of the Perrin family, famous for their Southern Rhône wines, and Nicolas Jaboulet, noted for his Northern Rhône wines. Suitably, the vineyard is located in the Coteaux d’Arcèche region, about halfway between Lyon (major city of the northern region) and Avignon (notable city of the southern region).

Viognier typically is noteworthy for its extravagant aromatics, this effort is more subdued, but it does drink like a French, cool-climate, stainless-steel fermented viognier (like chardonnay, viognier can present itself in many different ways depending on climate and decisions in the winery). This is an entry-level viognier. If you are new to the grape, you will taste how it sort of is like chardonnay, but—wait—way different, too. The full body and slight oiliness on the palate presents a Rubicon: you either like it and eagerly cross over, or you balk and retreat. If you are not enchanted by this effort, however, don’t vanquish viognier. In warmer climates, including Texas, this can be aged in oak and undergoes malolactic fermentation, which brings apricot and vanilla flavors to the plate on the palate. Like chard, viognier can be made so many different ways, you are likely to like one of them. $15-18

Maison Nicolas Perrin website

Second photo: Maison Nicolas Perrin winery website photo

Maison Nicolas Perrin Viognier 2014

Maison Nicolas Perrin winery