Aaron Wines Aequorea Spanish Springs Vineyard Viognier 2018
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Brought up in a mix of stainless steel and neutral oak, the 2018 Viognier Spanish Springs Vineyard offers a more fresh, focused, almost reductive style as well as notes of bright citrus, tangerine, crushed rocks, and pineapple. It fleshes out beautifully with time in the glass and is medium-bodied, with plenty of classic Viognier richness and depth, good acidity, and a great finish. It's a beautiful effort and one high-quality Viognier well worth seeking out.
Aaron Wines began in 2002 with a focus on producing powerful, age-worthy wines from the rugged hillsides of westside Paso Robles. Always seeking to veer from the norm, Aaron found inspiration in creating blends that centered around one of California's greatest grapes — Petite Sirah. Utilizing vineyards from the most amazing sites their boots could find, they source intense yet balanced fruit from the Willow Creek, Adelaida, and Templeton Gap districts. From these sites they coax this massively structured varietal (along with Grenache, Syrah, Mourvèdre, Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot) into a portfolio of unique cuvees that evoke the best expression of westside Paso Robles terroir.
Paso Robles has made a name for itself as a source of supple, powerful, fruit-driven Central Coast wines. But with eleven smaller sub-AVAs, there is actually quite a bit of diversity to be found in this inland portion of California’s Central Coast.
Just east over the Santa Lucia Mountains from the chilly Pacific Ocean, lie the coolest in the region: Adelaida, Templeton Gap and (Paso Robles) Willow Creek Districts, as well as York Mountain AVA and Santa Margarita Ranch. These all experience more ocean fog, wind and precipitation compared to the rest of the Paso sub-appellations. The San Miguel, (Paso Robles) Estrella, (Paso Robles) Geneso, (Paso Robles) Highlands, El Pomar and Creston Districts, along with San Juan Creek, are the hotter, more western appellations of the greater Paso Robles AVA.
This is mostly red wine country, with Cabernet Sauvignon and Zinfandel standing out as the star performers. Other popular varieties include Merlot, Petite Sirah, Petit Verdot, Syrah, Grenache and Rhône blends, both red and white. There is a fairly uniform tendency here towards wines that are unapologetically bold and opulently fruit-driven, albeit with a surprising amount of acidity thanks to the region’s chilly nighttime temperatures.
Full-figured and charmingly floral, Viognier is one of the most important white grapes of the northern Rhône where it is used both to produce single varietal wines and as an important blending grape. Look for great New World examples from California, Oregon, Washington and cooler parts of Australia. Somm Secret—Viognier plays a surprisingly important role in the red wines of Côte Rôtie in the northern Rhône. About 5% Viognier is typically co-fermented with the Syrah in order to stabilize the color, and as an added benefit, add a subtle perfume.