If you’ve read any of our posts, you’ll have picked up on the fact that we love Malbecs and Malbec blends. It’s our passion, our primary planting on the estate, and the star red of Argentina with a secure foothold in the US market and beyond. For that reason, we feel we can be a little more experimental with our white varietal. Hand of God will release a blended Viognier. We’re excited by the quality of the Viognier grapes produced this year and look forward to their continued maturation. We’ve also planted small parcels Roussanne, Marsanne, and Sauvignon Blanc grapes that will be blended with Viognier to produce top notch, complex, and balanced whites. The distinctive Viognier perfume holds up even when blended with a large portion of other grapes.
Viognier is classic varietal from the northern areas of the Rhône valley of southwestern France. It has never been found in large amounts, but in the 1960s it became almost extinct. The grape is enjoying resurgence today, both in the Rhône and also areas of Australia and California. In Australia, the wines can range from firm and floral to rich and oily. In California Viognier has become somewhat synonymous with rich, easy-drinking wine with a touch of sweetness. It has been termed a cult wine in the US and accordingly has attracted relatively high prices. Argentina is beginning to have significant plantings of Viognier and has huge potential as a fine wine with the high and cool vineyards situated on the slopes of the Andes.
Viognier has a reputation for being remarkably difficult grape to grow. Though drought tolerant, Viognier is prone to mildew, produces notoriously low and unpredictable yields, and needs to be picked when fully ripe. If it is picked too early it fails to develop its classic aromas and rich tastes. When picked too late, the grape produces wine that is oily and lacks perfume. The Mendoza region is noted as one of the best areas for grapes in Argentina and uniquely suited to the growing such a delicate grape due to the high altitude and low humidity Argentine vineyards are rarely plagued by mildew or many other diseases. We keep our yields intentionally low to improve the character, complexity and power of the wines.
The wine is noted for its rich golden color, remarkable clarity, and a highly perfumed aroma that can be compared to roasted pineapple, peach, apricot or even fennel. Many talk of being surprised by the taste; the color and nose hinting at something sweeter but the actually taste being dry with a variety of nuances both on the tongue and afterwards. The wines tend to be viscous and rich, with low levels of acidity. Viognier is almost always at its best when young. We like matching it with spicy cuisine, Mexican dishes, mild to medium and salty cheeses, strong flavored fish dishes, pork and chicken and fresh fruit salsas.