Several months ago, it was announced that Viognier is now Virginia’s signature grape (Frank has a great write-up about it here – be sure to read the comments too). I had mixed feelings about this designation, but I decided to sit on any discussion about it for the time being. Having had time to mull it over (and drink some 2010 Viogniers), I decided, what the heck- it may be time to talk about it again. I don’t have answers, but I have questions.
How available should a signature grape be?
In the comments following Frank’s post that I linked to above, the issue was raised that there’s not a metric boatload of Viognier in the ground. What happens if someone shows up at a winery that doesn’t make a Viognier?
Should our signature grape have a signature style?
Having come to Viognier exclusively through Virginia wine, I grew to expect a stainless viggy: no oak and loads of tropical fruit. In talking with other fans of East Coast wines, this seems to be their expectations too. This year, however, I’ve started coming around to more of an oak influence in my Viognier. Tarara, Jefferson, Delaplane… these wineries are skillfully using oak to bring out the awesome in our signature grape. So…will a variety of styles be an issue to the casual wine drinker? Will it be like a picky eater who knows he likes “curry” but is then surprised when presented with choices of Indian, Thai, and British pub curries?
What about the other awesome grapes?
I’m torn on this question. I like some of the Sauvignon Blancs in the state, I’ve tried some darn fine Albariños, Rkatsitelli, and Verdejo, but let’s be honest. We’re unlikely to see those grapes becoming dominant forces in the state, so maybe this is a pointless question. The other major white grape that comes to mind is Chardonnay, which our long-time readers know is a grape with which we’ve had a rocky relationship. If I had to choose which grape to see more of,it would be Viognier. The good Chardonnay in this state is becoming quite good, but there’s still a lot of “meh”. Ok, maybe I answered my own question. Thoughts?
Is it too soon?
Ok, this question was bandied about as soon as the announcement was made. Is Virginia still growing into its possible grape varieties? As awesome as Viognier is, will something come along and vanquish viggy? Now that everyone has had a chance to chew on this for a few months, conduct a Twitter tasting of several Virginia Viogniers, and roll out the red carpet to 300+ bloggers and wine fiends – what say you?
The Veracity of Viggy Signature Hotly Debated by Two Ducks and a Platypus by Swirl, Sip, Snark, unless otherwise expressly stated, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.