Viognier is one of those sexy white varietals that still don’t get enough attention, despite the fact that's it's leading the white wine parade for the California Rhone Rangers contingent. Many are made in a distractingly, overly perfumed and seemingly sweet style, quite the antithesis of their French counterparts.
Leave it to a Napa Valley vintner, Dr. Jerry Seps of Storybook Mountain Vineyards, and one known as a zinfandel specialist at that, to turn out a convincingly dry viognier. Fermented to dryness and aged on its lees (the spent yeast cells), the aromatics take a little coaxing and the flavors are taut as well. Peach, nectarine and apricot are all there, powerfully expressed and making full impact on mid palate, as well as honeysuckle, jasmine and a distinct minerality. Crisp and clean, it’s exactly the type of scintillating white wine I prefer with food.
Storybook Mountain Viognier, Napa Valley 2011 ($29.99).
Previous wine of the week: J Pinot Gris, Russian River Valley, Cooper Vineyard 2012 ($28).