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Joseph Phelps Viognier 1997

Viognier from Napa Valley, California
    0% ABV
    • W&S92
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    0% ABV

    Winemaker Notes

    In 1997, a year of extremes, a prolonged summer heat wave contributed to one of the warmest growing seasons on record until an unseasonable cold spell in the latter half of August all but shut down the ripening process. The growing season culminated in September, with warm temperatures causing everything to ripen at once. Harvested fruit contained the intensity of flavor we would associate with a small crop, yet the 1997 growing season yielded one of the most abundant harvests on record. Our cool climate vineyards in Carneros and Yountville weathered the temperate extremes well, and Viognier fruit ripened steadily, producing a wine with delicate notes of honeysuckle and peach. When combined with grapes from the warmer St. Helena area, the finished blend displays ripe, concentrated flavors and a crisp, clean finish. Viognier is an ideal companion with seafood, shellfish and poultry dishes.

    Critical Acclaim

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    Joseph Phelps

    Joseph Phelps Vineyards

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    Joseph Phelps Vineyards, Napa Valley, California
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    Joseph Phelps Vineyards is a family-owned winery committed to crafting world class, estate-grown wines. Founded in 1973 when Joe Phelps purchased a former cattle ranch near St. Helena in the Napa Valley, the winery now controls and farms nearly 375 acres of vines on eight estate vineyards in St. Helena, the Stags Leap District, Oakville, Rutherford, Oak Knoll District, Carneros and South Napa Valley. In 1999, the Phelps family added 100 acres of vineyard property near the town of Freestone on the Sonoma Coast, where Phelps now grows Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.

    Phelps is best known for its flagship Napa Valley blend of red Bordeaux varietals, Insignia, first produced in 1974. Awarded Wine Spectator's "Wine of the Year" in 2005, Insignia is widely regarded as a qualitative benchmark for California winemaking.

    Napa Valley

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    One of the world's most highly regarded regions for wine production as well as tourism, the Napa Valley was responsible for bringing worldwide recognition to California winemaking. In the 1960s, a few key wine families settled the area and hedged their bets on the valley's world-class winemaking potential—and they were right.

    The Napa wine industry really took off in the 1980s, when producers scooped up vineyard lands and planted vines throughout the county. A number of wineries emerged, and today Napa is home to hundreds of producers ranging from boutique to corporate. Cabernet Sauvignon is definitely the grape of choice here, with many winemakers also focusing on Bordeaux blends. Napa whites are usually Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.

    Within the Napa Valley lie many smaller sub-AVAs that claim specific characteristics based on situation, slope and soil. Farthest south and coolest from the influence of the San Pablo Bay is Carneros, followed by Coombsville to its northeast and then Yountville, Oakville and Rutherford. Above those are the warm St. Helena and the valley's newest and hottest AVA, Calistoga. These areas follow the valley floor and are known generally for creating rich, dense, complex and smooth reds with good aging potential. The mountain sub appellations, nestled on the slopes overlooking the valley AVAs, include Stags Leap District, Atlas Peak, Chiles Valley (farther east), Howell Mountain, Mt. Veeder, Spring Mountain District and Diamond Mountain District. Wines from the mountain regions are often more structured and firm, benefiting from a lot of time in the bottle to evolve and soften.

    Viognier

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    Full-figured and charmingly floral, Viognier is one of the most important white grapes of the northern Rhône, and the only one allowed in 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 rest of the wine world with some degree of success. Look for great New World examples from California, Chile, Oregon, Washington and cooler parts of Australia.

    In the Glass

    This is an aromatic variety making rich, complex and full-bodied white wines redolent of a full bouquet of flowers, stone and tropical fruits and a dash of spice. 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 hearty food like pork loin with apricot stuffing, roasted chicken or chicken Kiev.

    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. 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.

    HEI2456929_1997 Item# 855