We invite you to raise your glass with one of these 6 Okanagan Viognier on International Viognier day! Although the full history of Viognier is unknown, it is believed to be an ancient grape. In 1965 the grape was on the verge of extinction with only 8 acres planted in the Northern Rhône, and only 35 acres planted worldwide. Viognier was brought to North America in the late 1980’s. Over the years, Viognier has become more fashionable, with more BC wineries and vineyards growing this variety. As of 2019 according to Wines of British Columbia, there are 223 acres, or 90 hectares planted in all British Columbia. Wine produced from older vines can be cellared, but Viognier is a wine that you should drink young, within a year or 2 of production.
Now for the good stuff…
Juice from the Viognier grape is regularly compared to both Chardonnay and Pinot Gris, as the wine it produces is medium to full-bodied. For those unfamiliar with Viognier, it boasts a rich, oily texture. The wine is interestingly perfumed and floral, with the potential for stone fruit and honeysuckle on the nose. On the palate, you may find orange citrus, stone fruit, spice and in some cases a hint of sweetness. Viognier can be either stainless steel or oak barrel fermented, but also a combination of the two. You have a lot of choices when it comes to pairing your Viognier with food. A great accompaniment to a wide variety of seafood and shellfish, roasted or grilled poultry, or lighter proteins such as veal or pork. This wine also pairs well with spicy Asian foods, grilled vegetables and both hard and soft cheeses. One thing we love most about Viognier is that it is a wonderful wine that completely satisfies on its own.
Below you will find 6 Okanagan Viognier, 3 single varietals and 3 blends, in no particular order.
Ex Nihilo Vineyards | 2020 XXX Viognier | Lake Country
2020 brings us the third vintage of XXX Viognier from Ex Nihilo Vineyards in Lake Country. This wine uses single vineyard juice sourced from the Naramata Bench near Penticton. On the nose you will find floral aromas and bright tangerine. On the palate you will find notes of ripe nectarine with just a hint of vanilla, and a lingering, full mouthfeel. This wine has been produced by putting 80% of the juice in stainless steel, and 20% in French oak to create the body and weight. This wine has been aged on the lees for 3.5 months.
Residual Sugar: 2.86 g/L
Acid: 4.83 g/L
Moon Curser | 2020 Viognier | Osoyoos
Moon Curser has been bottling Single Varietal Okanagan Viognier since as far back as 2010. The 2020 vintage is a wine that will fill your nose with aromas of ambrosia apple, pear grapefruit and rose petal. This Viognier is rich, round and has a slightly oily texture and mouthfeel. With it being low off dry, the touch of sugar accentuates the white peach, honeysuckle, and orange blossom on the palate. This wine has a natural acidity and minerality that shines through to the finish. Enjoy this wine now, or within the next 3 years to retain the fruit-forward characteristics.
Residual Sugar: 5.6 g/L
Acid: 5.4 g/L
Time Winery | 2018 Viognier | Penticton
Time is an Urban Winery situated in the city, and the family if wines also include Evolve Cellars and the McWatters Collection. As for this Okanagan Viognier, the nose offers complex aromas of tropical fruit, orange peel, apricot, citrus, and floral notes. Tropical flavours continue through the lush and round palate, in harmony with a touch of coconut that came from 20% of the juice being in French oak barrels for 5 months. The finish is long and rounded.
Residual Sugar: 2.5 g/L
Acid: 6.6 g/L
hatch wines | 2019 Dynasty White | West Kelowna
The first blend on our list comes from the hatch in West Kelowna. The Jason Parkes Custom Crew blended 70% Viognier, 15% Roussanne, 9% Riesling and 6% Müller-Thurgau which proved to be a winning combination. From the minute you raise your glass, you are hit with aromatic explosion of honeysuckle and nectarines. On the palate you will find orchard fruit and baking spice. If you think The Hatch Dynasty White looks aspirational, that is because it is. With its sleek custom bottle, Dynasty white will always be the pinnacle of elegance in the hatch wine hierarchy. Drink now or lay this wine down for up to 3 years.
Residual Sugar: 1.2 g/L
Acid: 6.4 g/L
Le Vieux Pin | 2019 Ava | Oliver
We chose the 2019 Ava from Le Vieux Pin, as it highlights very essence of white Rhone grapes. Consisting of 51% Viognier, 35% Roussanne and 12% Marsanne, makes this a majestic white wine with a round and full structure. The nose will hit you with ripe stone fruits, cantaloupe, anise, and dried herbs. On the palate it can come across as a little sweet with canned peaches and a touch of brioche. The juice is aged in 35% new oak, and 65% stainless steel. This is a wine to enjoy now after a long decant or lay it down for another 2-5 years (5-8 years of bottle age).
Residual Sugar: Unknown at time of publishing
Acid: Unknown at time of publishing
Silk Scarf Winery | 2017 Syrah Viognier | Summerland
You may be shocked to find a red wine on this list, but the Syrah-Viognier from Silk Scarf is a spirited red created in the classic Northern Rhône style. The Syrah was co-fermented with 5% Viognier, which gives it a floral lift and adds brilliance to its colour. The 2017 vintage offers a sweet & spicy nose of pepper, mulberry, violets, and clove. The short time spent in older French oak allowed it to retain a lovely freshness, that together with lower alcohol levels and soft tannins creates a delightful, elegant wine. Drinks well now and should continue to evolve with age.
Residual Sugar: Unknown at time of publishing
Acid: 3.85 g/L
We hope you enjoyed learning about some of our favourite Okanagan Viognier! With more wineries starting to use the Viognier grape, we can’t wait to give you a new list nest year. If you have tried everything listed above, here are 3 more single varietal Viognier and 2 white wine blends for you to check out!
Hillside Estate Winery | 2018 Heritage Viognier | Naramata Bench
Indigenous World Wines | 2019 Hee-Hee-Tel-Kin White | West Kelowna
Daydreamer Wines | 2019 Marcus Ansems “Rachel’s” Viognier | Naramata Bench
C.C. Jentsch Cellars | 2018 The Quest White Blend | Oliver
Hester Creek | 2019 Terra Unica Viognier | Oliver