This posting considers the following: an
àMaurice 2008 Viognier ($25) and a
Syncline 2008 Viognier ($20).
The quick bottom line: both of these Washington State wines, while different in style, are very good and are Recommended.
First, what is viognier? It is a rather aromatic white wine primarily associated with the Rhone region of France. You can learn a lot more about it by clicking here.
Why drink viognier? The main reason, in my view, is that in its pure form (viognier is frequently blended with other wines), viognier accompanies Chinese, Vietnamese and other Oriental foods particularly well -- provided the food isn't overly spicy.
How are these two offerings different?
If you like the flavor of viognier -- think orange blossom, apricot, peach and honeysuckle for starters -- but don't like wines that are in-your-face flowery, go with the Syncline. This is a reserved, subtle, relatively light viognier primarily characterized by a very long finish.
On the other hand, if you enjoy a flowery bouquet that rises up out of the glass into your nose and if you enjoy a heavier, more mouth-filling body, the àMaurice would be a better choice. It has a slightly viscous texture to it that coats the mouth when you consume it while the Syncline offering clears away off the palate more quickly and more cleanly.
The àMaurice also has a nice finish, but it doesn't linger quite as long as that of the Syncline.
The Syncline is made from grapes grown in the Coyote Canyon Vineyard, which is located in the Horse Heaven Hills region of the Columbia Valley. The alcohol level is listed as 14.2%.
The àMaurice grapes are grown in vineyards a little further east -- near the town of Walla Walla and the wine is a blend of three different blocks. The alcohol content is said to be 14.5%
Both of these wines are made in very small volume and could be hard to find in retail outlets: 294 cases with respect to the àMaurice and 240 cases for the Syncline.