Christie Kiley on April 20, 2015 1 Comment What is this you ask? A Hermitage Blanc? Well, it could be no other than a beautiful Viognier from the Rhone Valley in France. What is a Viognier you ask? And what is it like? My, we have a lot of questions today, don’t we? So I will start by answering your questions and then I will get to the wine and its producer. Viognier is a traditional grape from the warmest region of France, the Rhone Valley. It is located on the eastern side of France and the region begins in Lyon, through Avignon and meets south with the neighboring region of Provence. There are many grapes grown in the Rhone Valley and some classic red blends are to have up to thirteen different grapes, however the two main wine grapes this area is famous for is Syrah, their red wine and our star grape today, Viognier, the white side of Rhone. The origins of Viognier are believed to have come from France and Croatia. But don’t tell the French that. They might not appreciate hearing that their beloved Viognier might have come from the latter country. Now that you have an idea of what Viognier is, the next question to answer is what is it like. It has been compared to that of a Chardonnay, but if I were Chardonnay, I would be offended and likewise, if I were Viognier, I would equally be offended. In all fairness, the structure of the Viognier fruit has the ability to create full-bodied wines much like those of Chardonnay, however, it is not the same. Aroma, flavor, taste and even some structure profiles of a Viognier wine are unlike those of Chardonnay. Get yourself a good Viognier wine (Hey, even the one I will talk about in just a few, the Maison Nicolas Perrin 2010 Hermitage Blanc!), and you will get it. Viogniers have a penchant of possessing characteristics of stone and orchard fruits and depending on where it is from the body of the wine can be medium to full. The perfume can be anything from fresh and green peaches and nectarines to buttery baked apples with spice and butter-crust peach cobbler. This wine is nothing short of all that is wonderful about Viognier. This wine, the one we are talking about today is like a fresh Asian pear, white tea from the most delicate pekoe, lemon meringue, green peaches and with flavors of that bit of the peach that is dark and reddish, juicy and just perfectly ‘peach’ and then the pear comes in with lingering notes of minerality that lighten your palate and leave your mouth watering. I hope I did not spoil it all, I mean, I have not even gotten to tell you about the producer yet. What makes a great wine has everything to do with who creates it, and learning about the artists who create wine and how is all part of the appreciation. In 2009, the two great families of the Rhone Valley united; the Perrin family of Chateau de Beaucastel and Nicolas Jaboulet of the Tain winery. They came together with the passion to create only top Northern Rhone wines. As with most partnerships it is all about accentuating the strength of each of the parties. Nicolas was able to source only the best fruit from growers he had built a relationship with over the years and the Perrin family was able to utilize their generations of winemaking knowledge to turn such lovely fruit into amazing wines. They only want to offer the best of the appellation. For them, it all starts with the fruit. The wine we are focusing on today has spent ten months aging in French oak. It is no surprise then of its complexity and depth with obvious elegance and grace on your palate. It is 2015 everyone and this wine is reaching its peak. Do enjoy it now, or maybe save it for a special occasion later on this year. But I urge you not to wait too long, too long to enjoy it or even purchase it. The Maison Nicolas Perrin winehouse only makes small batches of their wines and I am quite sure many wine enthusiasts will be happy to pick this up as it approaches its bottled ripeness. Do not miss out. Invite some friends over, have a meal of slow-roasted pheasant with caramelized root vegetables, or a dish of river salmon with caramelized potatoes, herbs and butter. I think you are getting the idea.