This was an interesting tasting. Ten of my relatives joined me, and there was no shortage of opinions. But the good part is that almost everyone found at least one they really liked, and that means you should too. There is not a lot of viognier (vee-oh-nyay) out there, but that’s no reason to overlook it. Viognier is often lush and rich. It offers a full-bodied alternative for anyone who would like to branch out from chardonnay. The grape originally comes from the Rhone Valley in the south of France, but California and Australia are now producing the lion’s share. From flowers and honeysuckle to peach and butter flavors, it’s great with summer foods.
This month's selections are available at Tonka Bottle Shop, 17616 Minnetonka Blvd., Wayzata, 952-473-5469. Prices may fluctuate, especially during sales.
Yalumba 2005 (South Australia), $11.99
Honey and butter on the nose and good tropical fruit on the tongue. The wine has a touch of sweetness that is rich but not cloying, plus a little lemony acid to balance it out. Try it on its own or with some chilled shrimp.
Cline 2005 (California), $10.99
Peaches and more peaches, on the nose and the palate. This wine is richer in style than the Yalumba and would be a great way to greet your guests on a warm summer day. Try it with a bread salad or chilled Thai pasta.
Moillard Hugues le Juste 2003 (France), $10.99
I found this one a bit too high in acid to match up with the light fruit. It sports a very light body and a crisp elegant finish. I would drink this on the front porch—on its own.
Hawley 2004 (Healdsburg CA), $21.99
A wine after my heart, with lush and rich taste to match up beautifully with a nose of tangerine and honeysuckle. This was the biggest of the bunch and well worth the money. It would pair up perfectly with lobster or spicy Asian food.
Bill Coy runs Vintage U, which organizes wine tastings, classes, and events for corporate groups, wine enthusiasts, and the general public. Reach him at email@example.com.