What Is Viognier Wine?

Viognier is a unique, aromatic white wine that has been gaining in popularity over the last few decades. Originating in the Rhône region of France, this full-bodied and floral white wine has become an international favorite due to its complexity and depth of flavor. While viognier hails from France, it can now be found around the world thanks to burgeoning wineries popping up in new regions including France, Italy, Australia and the United States.

Key takeaways

  • Viognier wines are white wines
  • the Viognier vines grow in the rhone valley, France and Languedoc Roussilon, France
  • You can find them in wine regions in Australia, South Africa and California, too
  • It is a fully bodied white wine with floral aromas
  • Viognier wine is best paired with spicy foods, roasted chicken or smoked salmon

What are the characteristics of viognier wine?

Viognier wine is made from the Viognier grape, which is a white grape variety. The grape is native to the northern Rhône Valley in France. The name of the wine grape “Viognier” is thought to be derived from the French word for “violet”, which is the color of the grape’s skin.

The thick skinned viognier grapes are notoriously difficult to grow, and they are often affected by powdery mildew and other diseases. As a result, Viognier wines are not as widely available as some other types of wine.

The Viognier grape variety is a low yielding grape variety which makes the wines more expensive compared to wines like Chardonnay which has a comparable flavor profile.

History of the Viognier grape

Viognier grape is a variety with a surprisingly ancient history. It is believed to have been first mentioned by the Romans in the 5th century AD, though it was likely being grown even earlier than that. This variety quickly spread throughout Europe, being planted in France, Italy and Spain.

In particular, it flourished and remained popular in France for centuries until its near disappearance during the 19th century. With production of this varietal almost non-existent by 1960s with only eight hectares left partially due to the phylloxera.

Certain winemakers took it upon themselves to revive their beloved grape before it vanished completely from memory.

The hard work paid off and today Viognier is celebrated in many wine regions around the world for its distinctive floral aromatics and lush texture on the palate.

Viognier Flavor profile

The delicate floral notes of Viognier wines is usually described as being floral or fruity. Many wine lovers also note the distinctive aromas and flavors of peach, apricot, and honeysuckle that are often associated with Viognier produce wines.

They typically have a high alcohol by volume abv for a white, which means they can have a rich, bold flavor that pairs well with rich foods like meat or seafood dishes.

These fruity flavors can be easily destroyed with too much oxygen exposure which makes barrel fermentation a technique requiring the full skill of the winemaker.

The viognier vine can produce a high sugar content allowing to produce sweet viognier wine with floral aromas. The wine is used as a dessert wine. Sweet viognier is an exception as most viognier wine is dry to off dry.

Viognier regions

The northern Rhone is one of the best-known and respected growing regions for Viognier grapes. The small appellation of Condrieu, within Northern Rhone, is renowned for producing some of the finest examples of Viognier wines in the world. Condrieu and château grillet are the appelations which are the furthest north where this grape variety grows. Viognier wines normally thrive in southern france.

Condrieu produces exclusively white wines from 100% Viognier grapes which must be handpicked according to strict regulations to maintain its high quality standards. The vines are grown on granite terraces with southern exposure located along the banks of the Rhone River which helps create full-bodied and complex wines with distinct aromas and flavors such as apricot, peach, melon and honeysuckle.

These wines possess high levels of acidity that help balance their rich body resulting in a long finish and great aging potential.

Viognier on the Northern Rhône

Viognier is a delicious white wine varietal that originates from the northern Rhone Valley of France. The mistral wind, a strong and cold wind which blows through the region, plays an integral role in the production of this unique and complex style of wine. It reduces the hot summer temperatures therefore providing a perfect climate for viognier vines.

Southern France Viognier

The abundance of sunshine and Mediterranean sea breezes in the Languedoc region create an ideal climate for this grape to thrive. As a result, many wineries are producing high quality Viognier wines from the Languedoc area.

The delicate floral notes of Viognier are unique and complex with notes of apricot, honeysuckle and peach. Its distinct minerality and bright acidity balance out its naturally sweet character to make it an ideal pairing with regional dishes like grilled fish or ratatouille. Languedoc’s Viogniers are known as some of the very best wines in the world, often bringing home awards at prestigious international competitions.

Viognier in the new world

Viognier is one of the most popular wines in the United States, and for good reason. This full-bodied white has a unique aroma profile that is highly sought after by those who enjoy drinking wine. Native to France, Viognier grapes are now grown in many parts of the world including Australia, South Africa and the USA.

In Australia viognier vineyards cover about 70% of the surface where white grapes are planted.

In America, Viognier is increasingly becoming a popular choice among winemakers due to its distinctive flavor. The typical flavors found in Viognier include apricot, peach and orange blossom as well as honeyed notes and spices such as coriander and clove. Californian viognier wines have very powerful flavors and high alcohol contents of up to 15% ABV.

The viognier grape variety needs colder climates like in Australia (New South Wales) or New Zealand to yield very fine structured and aromatic white wines.

How does viognier Wine Compare to Other Wines?

Viognier, Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay are some of the most popular white wines on the market today. Each varietal has its own distinct characteristics that make it unique from the others. To truly appreciate these wines, it is important to understand their differences and similarities in terms of aroma profile, aroma, texture and food pairings.

Viogner vs Chardonnay

Viognier wine and Chardonnay are two of the most popular white wines. Viognier, a full bodied white wine with floral aromas, is known for its intense perfume, rich texture, and balanced acidity.

On the other hand, Chardonnay is a light to medium-bodied white that has flavors ranging from butterscotch to citrus fruit. Although they have many similarities, there are some distinct differences between the two wines that make them special.

The primary difference between Viognier and Chardonnay is their flavor profiles. Viogniers are known for their bold flavors of apricots and peaches along with notes of honey, spices, and tropical fruits. In comparison to Chardonnays which tend to be more acidic with flavors of apple or pear as well as hints of oak or butter on the finish.

Viognier vs. Sauv Blanc

When it comes to white wine, Sauv Blanc and Viognier are two unique varieties that bring delightful aromas and flavors to the glass. Both are considered dry wines, yet their differences in aroma and flavor make them stand out from one another.

Sauv Blanc is known for its higher acidity levels which give way to a tart citrusy, while Viognier offers more floral aromas with a richer texture. The aroma of Sauv Blanc can range from cut grass to grapefruit, whereas Viognier offers notes of peach or apricot. On the palate, Sauv Blanc has a slightly bitter finish compared to the smoothness of Viognier. Additionally, Viognier carries hints of spice with hints of lemon zest or almond on the tongue.

Viognier Blending partners

This white varietal has been gaining popularity, particularly as a blending partner, due to its ability to add complexity and texture to many wines.

It is used for red wine blends but also for whites. When blended with Syrah, Viognier can create a unique aroma profile that appeals to both the red wine and white lovers alike. Up to 20% of viognier is allowed to be added to the Syrah wine.


When added to Syrah, Viognier enhances the blackberry and pepper notes of the base red varieties while adding delicate aromas of peach blossom, honeysuckle and apricot jam. The resulting blend showcases the best qualities of both grapes for an elegant yet robust aroma profile perfect for any occasion.

Grenache Blanc

Blended wine has become increasingly popular in recent years due to its unique fruity notes and interesting characteristics. A perfect example of this type of wine is a blend of Viognier and White Grenache, which has risen to prominence in the South of France, Spain and South Africa.

This combination is both refreshing and fragrant on the nose with notes of white flowers, ripe peaches and apricots. The palate offers an abundance of flavors including honeydew melon, juicy citrus fruits and a touch of minerality for balance. Its light body makes it an ideal aperitif or summertime refreshment that can be enjoyed year-round.

How Should I Serve Viognier Wine?

When you drink viognier wines they are best served at a temperature of about 55 degrees Fahrenheit / 12 °C. When serving Viognier wines, it is important to use a glass that will allow the wine to breathe, as this will allow it to fully develop its unique aromas and flavors. T

What Foods Pair Well With Viognier Wine?

The richness of Viognier allows an easy food pairing with lighter proteins like chicken or fish. To bring out the sweet, stone fruit notes in the flavor profile, try serving it with dishes like grilled salmon, roasted chicken or pork tenderloin. Viognier pairs nicely with cream sauces and mild cheddar cheese.

For those looking for a vegetarian main course option, Viognier complements seasonal vegetables and creamy risottos perfectly as well.

Where Can I Buy Viognier Wine?

Viognier wine is available at many liquor stores and online retailers. However, because Viognier grapes are more difficult to grow, the wines can be more expensive than other types of white wine. When buying Viognier wine, look for a bottle that has been made from grapes that were grown in France, as these are typical of the highest quality.

Viognier wines can be found here for Europe and North America.

How Should I Store Viognier Wine?

When it comes to storing Viognier wine, temperature is key. Your storage area should be kept between 50-59 degrees Fahrenheit in order to maintain the flavor and character of the wine as well as keep it from oxidizing quickly.

Humidity levels between 50-80% are ideal for proper corking and keeping the liquid from evaporating too quickly.


    Whether you’re a wine enthusiast or simply looking for the perfect addition to your next dinner party, Viognier wine is sure to impress. So what are you waiting for? Head to your local wine store today and start exploring the delicious world of Viognier.

    Hi, my name is Christina Day, and I am a self-proclaimed wine connoisseur. It is my favorite alcoholic drink, and I enjoy nothing better than kicking back on the sofa after a long week of work to enjoy a glass of wine… or two!

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