“Viognier is like Chardonnay – but more exotic,” says SubRosa’s winemaker Adam Louder when he introduces the variety to wine lovers at tasting events like Grampians Grape Escape in Halls Gap (first weekend in May).
Every wine drinker has tried Chardonnay and will know if they like it oaked, unoaked or not at all. But Viognier is a different story. Most Australians are new to the variety that is originally from the Rhone region in France.
Today, Viognier is also well known in the new world regions of California and Australia.
Viognier in Australia
While many vineyards in Australia grow Viognier, it is not often made as a stand-alone variety, instead, it’s blended with Shiraz to add complexity (and not always listed on the label). Some of Australia’s best known Shiraz Viogniers are made by Clonakilla (Canberra wine region) and Serrat (Yarra Valley).
SubRosa’s first Viognier was crafted by Adam Louder in 2015, drawing on his extensive experience making the variety at Araujo Estate in Napa Valley (acquired by Chateau Latour in 2013 and now known as Eisele Vineyard).
“Viognier is an interesting variety,” says Adam. “I love its exotic flavours and texture and as it ages it shows flavours that are honey, toasty and nutty”.
Red wine drinkers who don’t like white wine are often surprised by its full body and age-ability. It has less acidity than other white wines and more complexity than varieties like Pinot Gris or Sauvignon Blanc.
Adam likes to mature SubRosa Viognier in French oak for more than 12 months, like Shiraz, which adds texture, depth and complexity.
Why is Viognier sexier than Chardonnay?
Chardonnay shows characteristics of citrus, while Viognier is an aromatic wine with expressive floral aromas and flavours of stone fruits like peaches, nectarines and apricots.
Best food pairings
While Chardonnay is often paired with white meat (fish or chicken) Viognier is more versatile. With its rich full body and array of flavours it can be paired with seafood (rich buttery prawns), creamy sauces (from korma to alfredo), pork and even lamb. For the vegetarians, try pairing it with pumpkin, sweet potatoes, carrots and squash or a simple tomato, garlic and herb pasta.
How cold should I serve my Viognier?
Just like a good Brie or Camembert cheese, serve Viognier closer to room temperature. If it is too cold, the aromas and flavours will be masked.
Best in its class
Since SubRosa began producing Viognier, it has been recognised as one of the best in Australia and top value by reviewers James Halliday, Huon Hooke (Real Review) and Mike Bennie (Winefront).
What are you eating with your SubRosa Viognier? Share your #subrosamoment with us on social.