Monday, September 8, 2014

Gadino Cellars Viognier (2011)

Back in 2011, the Virginia Wine Board declared Viognier to be the state grape of Virginia.  At first blush, it seems like a shrewd (or, perhaps, not so shrewd) marketing campaign.  Viognier is for Virginia.  You can just hear the slogans.  "VYOHN yay" is for "ver GIN ya."  One can see the billboards along Interstate 95 and Interstate 81, with outlines of the State of Virginia filled with grape vines and bottle of wine.    

However, the association of Viognier and Virginia goes beyond common letters in their name.  Many Virginian vineyards and winemakers have successfully cultivated this grape to produce some very good wines.  One area of Vigonier activity is the Monticello AVA (American Viticultural Area).  The AVA gets its name from Thomas Jefferson's home, which is located within the region.  The AVA stretches across the central Piedmont in Virginia, including most of the Albemarle, Greene, Nelson and Orange counties.  

One winemaker, Gadino Cellars, takes Viognier grapes from the Monticello AVA to produce a single varietal wine at their family operated winery.  The grapes for their wine are grown at Gene Sulliva's South River Vineyard located at 900 feet elevation on gentle slops of the Blue Ridge near Stanardsville, VA, which is located in Greene County.  My beautiful Angel and I bought a bottle of the Viognier when we visited Gadino Cellars' tasting room.

The Viognier poured a very light straw color, with a faint golden hue.  The winemakers describe the aromatic elements of this wine to include honeysuckle, which I think is generally true.  I got some tropical fruit in the aroma as well, but some of the more commonly noted aromas -- such as apricot, orange blossom, pear -- were not very strong or present in the aroma of this wine.  

However, some of those elements were present in the taste.  I could clearly detect flavors of pear and even a little peach in the taste of the Gadino Cellars Viognier.   The winemakers suggest that there is tropical fruit and spice in the taste, and, I can say there was a hint "spice" in the taste of the wine.  Overall, this is a very good Viognier and it demonstrates the potential of the varietal in Virginia.

When it comes to pairing, the winemakers suggest that their Viognier can be paired with turkey, roast chicken and shellfish.  All of these are intriguing pairings, especially the turkey.  I could definitely see this wine being served on Thanksgiving day along with a very large, stuffed turkey.  Of course, the 2011 vintage is long gone and it will have to be bottles from the 2012 vintage.

We found this bottle at the tasting room in Washington, Virginia.  It sells for $22.00 a bottle.


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