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Pennautier Viognier 2016

Viognier from Languedoc-Roussillon, France
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    Winemaker Notes

    The nose reveals honeysuckle, fresh apricots and even a hint of sherbet. Crisp and fresh, with flavors following aromas of the nose and a well balanced lingering finish.

    An excellent aperitif, however also goes well with all manner of salads, quiches, and grilled fish.

    Critical Acclaim

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    Pennautier

    Château de Pennautier

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    Château de Pennautier, Languedoc-Roussillon, France
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    Built under Louis XIII by Bernard de Pennautier, Treasurer of the States of Languedoc, the historic monument of Château de Pennautier has been in the family since 1620. The vineyard has been entirely refurbished since the 1960s and the higher plots of land planted with vines. The direct heirs of the Pennautier family, Nicolas and Miren de Lorgeril are the 10th generation of winegrowers since the estate was founded. They took over in 1987.

    In the heart of the Cabardès appellation, the vines grow on the sunny, rugged hillsides south of the Montagne Noire, set at an altitude of 650 to 1300 feet. The views from up there are breathtaking: at a glance, you can see the entire Pyrenean mountain range to the south, the Massif Central to the north, and the famous town of Carcassonne just a few miles away.

    This terroir combines clay-limestone soils, the Mediterranean heat, an Atlantic influence and the coolness of the mountains. Many areas of garrigue and rock on the Montagne Noire include vines, up to an altitude of 1300 feet.

    Languedoc-Roussillon

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    An extensive appellation producing a diverse selection of good-quality and value-priced wines, Languedoc-Roussillon is one of the world’s largest wine-producing region, spanning the Mediterranean coast from the Spanish border to Rhône. Languedoc forms the eastern half of the larger appellation, while Roussillon is in the west; the two actually have quite distinct personalities but are typically grouped together. Languedoc’s terrain is generally flat coastal plains, with a warm Mediterranean climate and a frequent risk of drought. Roussillon, on the other hand, is defined by the rugged Pyrenees mountains and near-constant sunshine.

    Virtually every style of wine is made in this expansive region. Dry wines are often blends, and varietal choice is strongly influenced by the neighboring Rhône Valley. For reds and rosés, the primary grapes include Grenache, Syrah, Carignan, Cinsault, and Mourvèdre. White varieties include Grenache Blanc, Muscat, Ugni Blanc, Vermentino, Maccabéo, Clairette, Piquepoul and Bourbelenc.

    International varieties are also planted in large numbers here, in particular Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. In Roussillon, excellent sweet wines are made from Muscat and Grenache in Rivesaltes, Banyuls and Maury. The key region for sparkling wines here is Limoux, where Blanquette de Limoux is believed to have been the first sparkling wine made in France, even before Champagne. Crémant de Limoux is produced in a more modern style.

    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.

    WWH144883_2016 Item# 260512