2010 Blenheim Vineyards Viognier

Blenheim Vineyards, located high up on the hills surrounding Charlottesville, Virginia, is owned by Dave Matthews, leader of the famous musical band that bears his name. But don’t let that distract you from the wine. When I visited the winery, during the 2011 Wine Bloggers Conference, I was positively impressed with the coherence of the range of wines and the winery’s philosophy: winemaker and general manager Kirsty Harmon stated that her wines were made to be easy- and early-drinking, and that’s what we got in everything from the Chardonnay to the Cabernet Sauvignon. Harmon’s approach does not mean she is aiming lower, though, as shown by the 2010 Viognier, one of the best examples I’ve tasted of this variety chosen by Virginia as its flagship grape. Well-balanced, very aromatic and tropical on the nose but dry and refreshing as you gulp it down happily in the summer heat, it was also one of the closest things to Rhône Viognier I tried all weekend. Well-defined and quite pleasant, it goes well with charcuterie, smoked fish, and spicy Asian food. 20% of the wine is aged in oak—but I couldn’t have told you that without reading it. Recommended. RC

WHO: Blenheim Vineyards
WHAT: Viognier
WHERE: Charlottesville, Virginia
WHEN: 2010

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