Thursday, August 16, 2012

Vive California Viognier

All week I've been watching Discovery Channel's Shark Week with a religious intensity. As a bodyboarder and someone who has spent more than his fair share of time in some sharky waters, it's probably not the best idea to watch story after story about sharks attacking surfers and bodyboarders. But I can't stop. Last night a buddy of mine came over to hang out and watch some shark attack re-enactments, and I opened a California wine in honor of all the West Coast shark attacks.

I opted for a 2009 Alban Vineyards Viognier Alban Estate Vineyard from California's Edna Valley, located in the Central Coast region. Why? Because Alban's white wines wow me every single time, without exception. Alban specializes in Rhone Valley whites like viognier, marsanne and roussanne, in addition to amazing syrah and grenache. Alban's interpretations of the classic white grapes of the Rhone Valley are clearly Californian in their boldness and ripeness, but Alban pays homage to its French counterparts by delivering wines with freshness, complexity of flavors and serious aging potential.

The unfiltered beauty of viognier
In the glass, this wine looks unfiltered, showing a pear-apricot color with just a hint of smokiness lingering inside. It's downright beautiful to look at, but that's just the beginning. Aromatically, this viognier kicks ass. At first I got a shot of lemonade and some peanut shell. With time the aromas got bigger and more complex, showing honeysuckle, pixie stix candy, oil and apricot. This wine is big and bold on the palate, but the most surprising thing about this wine is the acid. That tanginess provides balance to the apricot, lemon zest and papaya flavors. The fruit flavors are accented with almond shell and honeycomb. This wine shows tremendous weight, like melted butter on the palate, but the balance is so impressive for a Central Coast viognier. This is not a gloppy or overpowering viognier by any means.

I would love to try this wine again in five years to see how this complex flavors unravel.

Vive Viognier! Vive Shark Week!

1 comment:

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