Two takes on the Viognier grape

In the last exciting instalment of Radio Free Daglan, I described a shopping trip that my wife Jan and I made to Bergerac. I went on to show off a lunch of crayfish gumbo (jambalaya, if you will) that Jan made for our Sunday lunch. Then I left readers hanging, with this dramatic closing:

And what, pray tell, did we drink with the jambalaya? Well, think Yalumba for a starter. And more will be revealed in my next posting.

Just to get technical for a moment: That was what we bloggers like to call a “hook” — a literary device to drag back readers for more. And now that you’re all back, let us get on with the Yalumba story.

It turns out that Yalumba is the name of the oldest family-owned winery in Australia, located in the Barossa Valley region. And several bottles of  a Viognier by Yalumba were among our purchases last Saturday at the Bergerac wine store known as the comptoir des vignes.

Viognier is actually one of the two white wines that Jan and I buy regularly at the Julien de Savignac wine store in Sarlat (the other being Parallele 45, a blended white wine — 20% of which happens to be Viognier — produced by Paul Jaboulet Ainé in the Rhône Valley).

The Viognier and the Parallele have become sort of our house wines, because they are light and easy-drinking; they go well with food, but they’re also very drinkable on their own.

In the interest of extending a bit beyond the habitual, on Saturday we bought a different Viognier from the south of France. Here’s the bottle:

Very much in the French style.

To my palate, both our “regular” French Viognier and this Gérard Bertrand version are in a typical French style — they’re light, refreshing, with only hints of flowers and fruits.

By contrast, the 2015 Yalumba Viognier we bought (and had with our jambalaya lunch) was dramatic and powerful.  It’s from Yalumba’s Y Series, and here’s how the bottle looks:

A pretty tasty, wonderful wine.

Usually, I find winemakers’ descriptions of their wines over the top — I have a lot of trouble tasting the tastes they describe, or smelling the aromas they list. But I have to say that Yalumba’s description (on the front label) seems accurate. Here it is:

“Honeysuckle and jasmine aromas set the scene for an exotic blend of stone fruit, lemongrass and ginger flavours. This silky white is nothing short of delicious.”

And for both Jan and me, the wine seemed just about the perfect match for our rather peppery crayfish jumbo. In fact, I’d say that this wine would probably be great with other spicy foods, like Thai or Indian. So, it’s goodbye Riesling and Gewürztraminer, and hello, Yalumba Viognier.

Final notes: In case you were wondering, the name Yalumba comes from an indigenous Australian word for “all the land around.” And if you have any more time remaining, and sufficient interest, have a look at Yalumba’s website. It has some of the most interesting writing on wines that I’ve found. Very enjoyable.

 

 

This entry was posted in Food, Life in southwest France, Wine and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Two takes on the Viognier grape

  1. Keith Raymond says:

    Thanks for this. FYI the Yalumba is on in Ontario for $13.95. The Gerard Bertrand is $14.95. Interested in what they sell for in France!

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