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Wine of the Week for week ending 16 May 2010
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Moana Park Vineyard Selection Dartmoor Valley Viognier 2009
Hawkes Bay, New Zealand

I've fallen in love with a wine. A Viognier to be precise

Verging on the Irresistible
Intriguing in every way
Opulently aromatic and
Gorgeously flavoured.
Nougat filled with apricot
Infused with flower nectar.
Exotic. Ethereal.
Refill the glass, please, please!

That's a little acrostic I was inspired to write after becoming besotted with the Moana Park Vineyard Selection Dartmoor Valley Viognier 2009. First tasted at a Cuisine Top 10 Chardonnay tasting, the pre-taster to the Chardonnays that followed, this was rated the No. 1 Viognier by Cuisine, it was also a 'Best Buy', which is not surprising with a retail price of $14.99.

I bought a bottle and took it along to share with friends at a Sunday evening soiree. Accompanied with a creamy goat cheese on nutty wafer biscuits with basil tomatoes, the wine was gorgeous, the combo was gorgeous and the food and wine disappeared in no time. Viognier in its element, I went back to the shop to buy three bottles more.

"What are you buying wine for?" asked the retailer. "Surely you get enough samples".
"Ah, but I like to have wine in the house that I like to drink without having to think".

And sometimes it necessary for wine writers to open wine without having to think about the critique, the review. But I did learn something in this 'no thinking' scenario - and that is, do not over chill. I put the bottle in the freezer to speed up the chilling process. Three quarters of an hour was too much and made the wine seem overpoweringly steely.

Moana Park Vineyard Selection Dartmoor Valley Viognier 2009 is gorgeously fragrant and richly flavoured, a song of spice and a long full finish. Musk prevails in the most gorgeous way with apricot-filled nougat and a flower nectar sweetness with freshness and brightness throughout.

The notes on the back label say, "This reserve Viognier was harvested in two batched to maximise flavour profile, a vibrant fruit driven style which display lifted notes of orange blossom, jasmine, white peach and ginger. The palate is rich, full-bodied and seamless displaying notes of pear drop, tangerine and spice notes. Winemaker: Dan Barker."

Information on the Moana Park website indicates this is a tank fermented wine. It has 13.8% alcohol and is closed with a screwcap.

An excellent introduction to the once rare grape variety. With gold at the Easter Show and Five Stars and No.1 in Cuisine, the judges got this right.

© Sue Courtney
11 May 2010

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