This Viognier comes from Grist Vineyard, located 1,000 feet above Dry Creek Valley, over the fog line. It
was handpicked, whole cluster pressed, fermented in neutral French Oak barrels, and aged for 6 months Sur
Lie. Like most good Viogniers, it has a flowery bouquet with scents of freesia flowers and chrysanthemums
with notes of peach skin, orange rind and papaya. This is a refreshing, restrained example with white stonefruit
flavors and hints of quince.
Peach skin, orange rind, papaya, star fruit and freesia.
The Horse & Plow Winery merges the best of old-world and new-world techniques to produce authentic,
hand-crafted wines from Northern California. They utilize organic farming, small-lot fermentations and
traditional techniques to make balanced, food-friendly and site-specific wines. The goal is to make worldclass
wines from organically grown grapes. Owner Chris Condos has been making wine since 1995 and has
worked with many unique varietals. Chris started making wine in 1995 at Pine Ridge Winery in the Napa
Valley and is also the co-owner of Vinum Cellars. His wife, Suzanne, is the owner and winemaker at Lutea.
While Viognier shares Chardonnay’s richness and body, its assertive flavors can stand up to boldly flavored
fare. Chicken, meaty fish and shellfish, pork and light veal dishes will serve this wine well. For seasoning,
curries and satays make a great flavor and textural complement, while chutneys will pick up the wine’s fruit
and spice notes. For a sweeter approach, tropical fruits such as mango, orange and papaya will all play to
the wine’s luscious fruit flavors, as will stone fruit such as peaches. I recommend my recipe for Pan Stew of
Scallops, Peas and Pearl Onions. Adding a bit of lemon zest and herbs at the end of the preparation introduces
an intriguing flavor contrast and lightens up the dish.
Viognier was once fairly common. Now it is a rare white grape grown almost exclusively in the northern
Rhône regions of France. In 1965, the grape was almost extinct when there were only 8 acres in Northern
Rhône producing just 1,900 liters of wine.