In the ancient vineyards of Condrieu, home to arguably the world's best Viognier wines, the vignerons say the wines are best enjoyed when they are young. Here in the new vineyards of the South Pacific, you ask the vigneron how long the Viognier will cellar and often they shrug their shoulders in a French Je ne sais pas way. The problem with some of the new wave new world Viogniers is lack of experience growing the grape and sometimes the grapes are picked before they have reached the optimum point. Some need cellaring in the hope they will come right.
But there are Viogniers that can be enjoyed when young and this week's Wine of the Week is definitely one of them. It's a 2010 wine and delivers a hedonistic drinking experience. No cellaring is needed in the hope it will come right because this wine is already perfect.
I'm talking about Dry River Martinborough Viognier 2010 from the Dry River Estate vineyard.
In the glass in the light of my room the wine shows a gemmy, moderate to light gold colour and offer up scents of spice and hints of the alcohol richness within. There are subtle suggestions of love, warmth, food and satisfaction.to the beguiling scent!
A wine of richness and power, there are nuances of flower musk and hints of botrytis, with a touch of liquorice (aka tarragon) and a tickle of ginger . High-toned and spicy with flavours of sweet poached pear, the tartness of apple and the lift of tangelo zest - you could be forgiven for thinking you have Alsace Pinot Gris in your glass ( as I thought when tasting blind, so hope I am forgiven). Yet there's a suggestion of freshly picked Golden Queen peach on the finish. Just delicious, this is delightfully aromatic with a full body and a perfect slippery texture. Dry yet luscious, steely yet supple, tuis would be drawn to this nectar if they weren't so busy with the Kowhai flowers and peach blossoms right now.
The wine was matched to pork hock slow cooked in the oven in apple juice (Mac's 300ml Sparkling Green Apple) with onions, green, purple and pineapple sages and finished with tangelo zest. Perfect.
The following night the food match was boneless chicken thighs stuffed with a slice of blue cheese and a slice of Golden Queen peach and wrapped in bacon. The peach came from my tree and as an experiment was frozen whole. It tasted as fresh as the day it was picked.
Dry River Martinborough Viognier 2010 has 14% alcohol by volume and the bottle is closed with a natural cork. Hard to find but worth the effort.
© Sue Courtney
31 Aug 2010