Sometime around 1999 it must have been, when I first had viognier. It was a decent restaurant in the Sydney CBD, one with a sommelier. He recommended a viognier, and I remember thinking the wine was arresting and well chosen for our meal.
Eighteen years later, and here I am, at my second bottle.
This one is part of a pattern I note here of wine producers not keeping their wine data sheets up to date. The last one available was for the 2012 vintage, many years ago.
Here’s what they said:
This may be our best Viognier yet. Our Estate Vineyards are now fully mature. The vines are not irrigated, and produce a small crop of intensely flavored grapes. The wine has a very alluring aroma, reminiscent of fresh Sierra meadow flowers, with a hint of peach and honeysuckle.
The flavors are rich and spicy – full bodied and richly textured with a long, lingering finish.
Uhhh, no. The 2015 is very clearly a different wine. There are no fresh Sierra meadow flowers here. What we have is apricots and steel, with a nice bowl of dried petal potpourri on the side. We’re into austere territory here with a cut-down wine of fruit, fermentation, oak and bottling.
After a few days of contemplation, I think I see what’s happening. The winemaker is paying homage to that first Alsatian viognier I drank, which was minerally and alive and amazing. With fruit from Amador County, one can only do so much, so going as far as one can to make a wine true to that fruit is the only path…and likely a good one.
Frankly, I don’t like this as an aperitif. With the right food pairing, this wonder would absolutely shine.