We planted Viognier in order to co-ferment it with Syrah in colder vintages – the age-old Cote Rotie tradition. Because we get plentiful sunshine and ripeness during a typical Ballard Canyon vintage, there is often Viognier available to make monocepage white wine. In fact, we haven’t co-fermented Viognier with Syrah since the 2011 vintage. Betting that climate change will mean fewer and fewer cold vintages, we grafted some of the Viognier to Chenin Blanc in 2016 and then to Mondeuse in 2017. 4 acres remain and yields have been extremely low in the recent drought years. In fact, in 2015 yields were so low that we weren’t able to harvest any fruit for our winery’s production. In 2016, just a few tons came in for the tasting room and wine club members!
2016, the last year of a five year drought, brought extremely conservative Viognier yields. The subsequent wine is more concentrated than the 2014 vintage. The moderate 2016 weather created a quintessential Viognier bursting with fresh stone fruit aroma and flavor. As always, we are careful to catch the Viognier before it accumulates too much sugar. Our goal is a balanced and bright Viognier.
AT THE WINERY
We aim to showcase the purity of the Viognier varietal profile and the expression of our site. Careful, gentle pressing ensures the Viognier stays delicate and the wine is aged without new oak. In 2016 we separated two distinct press cuts, one at almost no pressure and one that extracted about 40% more juice from the skins and pulp. We ended up preferring the weight and texture of the combined lots and blended the two four months prior to bottling. We also inhibited malolactic fermentation to keep the wine fresh and lively.
Classic Viognier notes of white peach and apricot backed with crushed stone. Hints of orange blossom denote a lively acidic backbone. The time in barrel gives a nice roundness and approachability for early drinking.
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