Archive for the 'Viognier' Category

Sean Thackrey Pleiades XVII

Last Saturday night Candace and I headed out to Graham’s for a BBQ dinner and to taste a few wines… and film a few reviews. First up is Sean Thackrey’ delicious Pleiades XVII. It’s a blend of Syrah, Sangiovese, Mourvèdre, Barbera, Carignane, Petite Sirah and Viognier, among others.

Pretty amazing stuff.

$19.99 at the Bottle Barn in Santa Rosa, CA.

4 1/2 stars


2005 Stags’ Leap Petite Syrah, Napa Valley

A video run-down of our latest wine… turns out it’s a field blend of Petite Syrah, 8% Syrah, 4% Grenache and 2% Viognier vines, all of which are around 85 years old.

$34.99 USD on Maui.

4 1/2 stars


Sean Thackrey Pleiades XVI

02192009Wow. What else can you say when you taste this wine? I would actually mistake it for a Nebbiolo-based Piemontese wine… It’s just that hard to pin down. I first tasted it at Vancouver’s Salt Tasting Room a while back and had been looking for it since.

It’s a field blend of Syrah, Sangiovese, Mourvèdre, Barbera, Carignane, Petite Sirah and Viognier, among other varietals. After harvest, winemaker Sean Thackrey lets the grapes sit and “rest” at least 24 hours outside his home. Then after crush, he transfers the juice to ferment in open vats under the eucalyptus trees that surround the winery.

Thackrey doesn’t keep track of the exact percentage that ends up in each blend so it’s different from year to year. No fancy schmancy modern science-driven techniques going on here. He got his education from what he says is the world’s largest collection of ancient wine scripts and lets his palate guide the final mix. The man is a character – something his wines have in spades.

The nose is really unique, especially for a California wine. There’s tar, powerful dark cherry and a bit of citrus edged by Thackrey’s signature note of eucalyptus. A curious sip gives up tar-edged cherry fruit along with a full-bodied mouth-feel and a finish that actually builds before it starts to fade a minute later.

I could drink this all the time and when you can find it, it’s quite the value. I was lucky enough to come across it at K & L Wine Merchants on my recent trip to San Francisco for the 2009 ZAP Festival.

$22.99 USD at K & L Wine Merchants in San Francisco.

4 1/2 stars


2006 d’Arenberg Hermit Crab Viognier-Marsanne, McLaren Vale

I picked this up on a whim on the way home from work today to pair with some grilled sockeye salmon…. and “Yum”.

It really delivers all I thought it might offer up. There’s a mouthful of rich pear, orange and mineral flavours packed in there along with the pear and marmalade nose. The finish (at room temperature) has a slightly sweet fruit edge, which is delicious.

This is a heckuva’ white value, folks. I can’t say there’s a white Rhone-style blend out there that I like better, especially for the moolah.

$24.99 at Liberty Wine Merchants.

4 stars

No comments

2005 Treana White, Marsanne-Viognier

I picked this up on a whim last week at Kitsilano Wine Cellars here in town after having a craving for Rhone-styled whites. I just felt like having some of those peachy-stoney-full white wines.

I had heard about this wine from a few places and it just sounded right… and who am I to argue with a wine that piques my interest? 🙂

OK, so a quick run-down: the wine comes from California’s Central Coast and is a blend of 50% Marsanne and 50% Viognier. The booze on it comes in at 14.5%, which is high, but seems balanced because of the body and acidity of this wine.

The nose is a bunch of hazelnut, honey, peach, lemon and mineral. A sip gives an incredibly full-bodied mix of peach, melon, honey with a long finish of lemon, peach juice and stone. Yum.

This is truly a sexy white wine. This is the wine equivalent of a warm and thick honey massage oil for your tongue.

$47 at Kitsilano Wine Cellars.

4 1/2 stars

No comments

2006 Laroche Viognier, Vin de Pays d’Oc

I just finished moving (mostly) and it’s nice to have a spare minute to sit and write about a bottle of wine. 🙂

I recently bought a new BBQ (Weber Q 220 – I’d highly recommend it) and am pretty much eating nothing that hasn’t touched its grill… and tonight I cooked up some fresh salmon.

I’m always looking for wines that match foods I love and, personally I love both BBQ salmon and the Viognier grape. Well, like the Bastide Viognier I loved with sushi, this wine hit the sweet spot with the meal tonight.

This, folks, is a fantastic wine for the moolah. The nose is a textbook example of what a peach/apricot juice dribbled over flinty stone would produce. The flavours are a long-lasting mix of that peach and apricot fruit, some almond and a crisp mineral-laced finish. This is bloody tasty stuff with the acidity to stand up to a nice fatty grilled fish like salmon. Yum.

I’ll be buying this again.

$20 at Kitsilano Wine Cellars.

4 stars

No comments

2006 Bastide de Garille Cuvée de Fruitée Viognier, Vin de Pays d’Oc

You may not know Viognier (think VEE-OHN-YAY), but dammit, you should. It’s a grape from France’s Rhone Valley but has started to find its way around the world with some success in the last bunch of years – notably in California and Australia.

I’ve had many Viogniers over the years that I’ve loved… most carrying a price tag higher than this one. What this wine represent is a serious bar-goon. For 18 bones, what you get when you buy this wine is a bunch of tasty Viognier purity without the astringent edge you get with some (*cough Chilean *cough) Viogniers in the under-$20 range.

This has a nose that is all lemony peach with a bunch of mineral… the flavours are a juicy bunch of full-bodied peach/apricot fruit dosed with lemon and a flinty mineral edge. Tasty, tasty stuff for the money.

One thing to note – this is not a wine that drinks well when really cold. Like Chardonnay, Viognier is best when it’s on the warm side of chilled. That’s when you really get the gist of the varietal. Oh… and it goes really well with sushi. 🙂

$18 at Kitsilano Wine Cellars here in Vancouver.

4 stars

1 comment