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Charles Smith Lawrence Vineyard Viognier 2011

Viognier from Columbia Valley, Washington
  • RP94
  • WS91
0% ABV
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Winemaker Notes

Single vineyard Viognier from the stoney hills above Royal City. Focused and fresh. Flavors of dried confectionary fruit - mango, papaya, pineapple, guava. Beeswax and beguiling texture pierced with amazing minerality through a long expansive and exotic finish.

Critical Acclaim

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RP 94
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
Also brilliant and one of the top Viogniers made in Washington State, the 2011 Viognier Charles Smith comes from the Lawrence Vineyard, which is located just north of the Royal Slope, at an elevation of 1,450 feet. Barrel-fermented in 10% new French oak and going through full malolactic, it's a knockout effort that will give a top flight Condrieu a run for its money (actually, if price is factored in, this most likely wins hands down). Beautifully aromatic with brioche, apricot, toast and white peach all emerging from the glass, it hits the palate with a medium to full-bodied, decadently textured mouthfeel that never seems heavy or cumbersome, yet delivers awesome richness and depth. Enjoy this knockout white over the coming handful of years.
WS 91
Wine Spectator
Polished, expressive and well-detailed, offering honeyed pear and spice flavors on a sleek frame. This has richness and a refreshing finish.
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Charles Smith

Charles Smith

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Charles Smith, Columbia Valley, Washington
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First there was K Vintners, then the Magnificent Wine Company and now winemaker Charles Smith brings you his latest revelation. Charles Smith Wines: The Modernist Project is a response to how people generally consume wine today, that is immediately…as in immediately after being purchased at a market, restaurant or bar, to be drunk straight away. Wine in this category is typically either simple, or is a wine that would be much better a few years down the road. 'Modernist Project' wines are about putting as much into the bottle as possible. The intent is to create wines to be enjoyed now, but with typicity with regards to variety—that is merlot that tastes like merlot—and to the vineyard—wine that tastes like where it was grown. The wines are full of flavor, balanced, and true to their place of origin.

Columbia Valley

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A large and geographically diverse AVA capable of producing a wide variety of wine styles, the Columbia Valley AVA is home to 99% of Washington state’s total vineyard area. A small section of the AVA even extends into northern Oregon!

Because of its size, it is necessarily divided into several distinctive sub-AVAs, including Walla Walla Valley and Yakima Valley—which are both further split into smaller, noteworthy appellations. A region this size will of course have varied microclimates, but on the whole it experiences extreme winters and long, hot, dry summers. Frost is a common risk during winter and spring. The towering Cascade mountain range creates a rain shadow, keeping the valley relatively rain-free throughout the entire year, necessitating irrigation from the Columbia River. The lack of humidity combined with sandy soils allows for vines to be grown on their own rootstock, as phylloxera is not a serious concern.

Red wines make up the majority of production in the Columbia Valley. Cabernet Sauvignon is the dominant variety here, where it produces wines with a pleasant balance of dark fruit and herbs. Wines made from Merlot are typically supple, with sweet red fruit and sometimes a hint of chocolate or mint. Syrah tends to be savory and Old-World-leaning, with a wide range of possible fruit flavors and plenty of spice. The most planted white varieties are Chardonnay and Riesling. These range in style from citrus and green apple dominant in cooler sites, to riper, fleshier wines with stone fruit flavors coming from the warmer vineyards.

Viognier

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Full-figured and reminiscent of a potent floral perfume, Viognier is the mandatory grape of the northern Rhône appellation Condrieu and neighboring monopole (an entire appellation dedicated to just one winery) Château Grillet. It is also a blending variety in several appellations throughout the entire Rhône Valley. Viognier is grown throughout much of the world with some degree of success, but is perhaps at its best outside of France in Oregon, Washington, and cooler parts of Australia, where minerality and acidity can be achieved to give the wine the backbone it can sometimes lack.

In the Glass

This is a heady, aromatic variety making rich, complex, and full-bodied white wines redolent of a floral bouquet and assorted stone fruits and tropical fruits, with a hint of spice not unlike that of Gewürztraminer. It is lower in acidity than most white wines, lending to its heavy impression on the palate. While a whiff of Viognier might suggest sweet flavors, these wines are typically quite dry.

Perfect Pairings

Viognier is an intense, bold variety that can easily stand up to gutsy food like pork loin with apricot stuffing, chicken Kiev, or rich, spicy fare.

Sommelier Secret

While Viognier is a white grape, it also plays an important role in the red wines of Côte Rôtie in the northern Rhône, made otherwise from Syrah. 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.

YNG705821_2011 Item# 126329