Viognier: A Symphony of Aromatics and Texture

Welcome to the enthralling world of Viognier, an enchanting white grape variety known for its heady aromatics and rich, full-bodied style. Once a grape teetering on the edge of extinction, Viognier has experienced a modern resurgence, captivating wine lovers with its unique charm and complexity.

A Brief History

Viognier originates from Northern Rhône in France, specifically from the small appellations of Condrieu and Château-Grillet, where it has been grown since Roman times. By the 1960s, Viognier was on the brink of extinction, with only a handful of acres remaining. However, in the late 20th century, a renewed interest in this variety led to its revival and spread to other wine regions around the globe.


Viognier is a demanding grape to cultivate. It buds early, making it vulnerable to spring frosts, and requires ample sunshine and a long growing season to fully ripen. The vine tends to yield low to moderate crops, resulting in naturally concentrated, flavourful wines. Typically, Viognier wines have high alcohol content and low acidity, making balance a key consideration in its production.

Flavour Profile

Viognier is known for its signature aromatic intensity. The primary aromas and flavours include stone fruits like apricot and peach, floral notes of blossom, and exotic hints of musk and spice. With age or oak influence, it can develop complex nuances of honey, dried fruit, and toasted nuts.

Different Styles of Wine

Viognier styles range from lighter, fresher profiles to richer, fuller-bodied wines. The former, typically unoaked, focus on the grape’s vibrant fruit and floral character. The latter, often influenced by oak and aging, express a deep concentration of flavour, silky texture, and complexity.

Wine Making and Maturation Options

Winemaking choices greatly influence Viognier’s style. Fermentation in stainless steel tanks preserves the fresh fruit character, while barrel fermentation and aging add complexity and a richer mouthfeel. The use of malolactic fermentation can contribute to the wine’s creaminess, but it also reduces the already low acidity, making it a careful balancing act for winemakers.

Important Regions

Northern Rhône, specifically Condrieu, remains the heartland of Viognier. Outside France, California and Australia have achieved great success with this variety, producing both varietal wines and blends. Other regions that grow Viognier include parts of South Africa, South America, and New Zealand.

Food Pairing Suggestions

The full-bodied, aromatic nature of Viognier pairs wonderfully with rich dishes such as lobster, scallops, creamy curries, and poultry with cream sauces. Its exotic spice notes also make it a great companion for spicy Asian cuisine, and its floral, fruity character is a delightful match for soft, creamy cheeses.

As you delve into the world of Viognier, you’ll find yourself charmed by its captivating aromas, opulent flavours, and sensual mouthfeel. While this varietal may be a little more elusive than the mainstream white grapes, the pursuit of its unique charms is a rewarding journey for every wine enthusiast. From the steep vineyards of Condrieu to the sun-drenched landscapes of California and Australia, each bottle of Viognier presents a new chapter of discovery, showcasing the beauty of this noble grape variety.

Take a quiz to test your knowledge

Written by

Bernard Marr has a deep passion for wine. He has written hundreds of articles on wine, including features for Forbes, covering wine-making and industry trends. Away from the world of wine, Bernard is a world-renown business and technology futurist. He is the award winning author of over 20 best-selling books and has a combined audience of nearly 4 million people across his social media channels and newsletters.

Wine Sections

Tasting and Enjoying Wine | Bernard Marr | Wine Cellar

Tasting & Enjoying Wine

Understanding Wine Making | Bernard Marr | Wine Cellar

Understanding Wine Making

Understanding Wine Regions | Bernard Marr | Wine Cellar

Understanding Wine Regions

Understanding Grape Varieties | Bernard Marr | Wine Cellar

Understanding Grape Varieties

Understanding Wine Labels | Bernard Marr | Wine Cellar

Understanding Wine Labels

The Wines of the World | Bernard Marr | Wine Cellar

The Wines of the World

Wine Trends & Technology | Bernard Marr | Wine Cellar

Wine Trends & Technology

Wine and Food Pairing | Bernard Marr | Wine Cellar

My Wine Adventures

Wine & Food Diary | Bernard Marr | Wine Cellar

Wine and Food Pairing

Wine Reviews | Bernard Marr | Wine Cellar

Wine Reviews

Wines To Look Out For