A classic varietal from the northern areas of the Rhône valley of southwestern France. Viognier has never been found in large amounts, but in the 1960s it become almost extinct. It is enjoying a resurgence of sorts today along with all things Rhône, both in that region and also areas of California and Australia. Viognier has a thick skin with a heavy yellow pigment, and the wines it produces have a rich golden color even when young. Viognier is noted for making wine with a very perfumed aroma that can be compared to roasted pineapple, peach syrup, flowers or even fennel. The wines tend to be viscous and rich, with low levels of acidity. The better examples can be quite fascinating but if over production is a problem it can easily slip from big to oily and flabby.
The home of Viognier is in the northernmost points of the Rhône valley, namely Condrieu and Château Grillet. These tiny areas produce even tinier amounts of wine that can be quite expensive but also very tasty. Up to 20% of Viognier is allowed into the heavy Syrahs made in Côte-Rôtie. Viognier can also be found in many ares of the Languedoc-Rousillon as well as Vin de Pays. In California Viognier has become somewhat synonymous with rich, easy-drinking wine with a touch of sweetness. Also found in Australia where the wines can range from firm and floral to rich and oily. Viognier is always at its best when young.