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Home Winners > Winners 2017 > NEW WORLD: Viognier

Winner Details

New World: Viognier

2017 Gold: 2 Silver: 3 Bronze: 2 Commended: 3
2016 Gold: 1 Silver: 3 Bronze: 1 Commended: 2

It’s fair to say that Viognier has never quite hit the heights that were predicted for it 15 years ago, when it was being touted as Chardonnay’s tartier younger sister. But it has, nonetheless, carved out a good niche for itself in the Sommelier Wine Awards, and there really are signs that the New World’s winemakers are getting the hang of it.

After ‘super rich and syrupy’ 10 years ago and ‘rather lean and charmless’ four years back, the pendulum seems to have swung to a good place, balancing varietal expressiveness with elegance and freshness. The medal count might have been more or less the same as usual, but the feedback was far more positive. Encouraging. A few more entries next year might really get some impetus behind the category because the wines seem to be there.

FROM THE TASTING TEAMS

‘I was very impressed with the flight, I’m a big lover of Viognier in general. It’s a grape that’s misunderstood, but the winemakers here have done a really good job.’ Stefan Kobald, Jason Atherton Group

‘I liked this style, you can find wines for pubs, gastropubs to fine dining restaurants. I’m impressed.’ Tanya Mann, Linden House Stansted

‘Generally, Viognier is quite a hard sell. People may have got into the mind set that it’s a very ripe style, but there was a lot of restraint from the New World here; not as much wood as expected.’ Angela Reddin, team leader

‘They can be cloying, but these were very good examples. Very good quality and they were cheap. Much less perfumed, and cleaner than a few years ago. It’s becoming much more elegant.’ Sue Jones, The Harrow at Little Bedwyn

‘There is a market for New World Viognier.’ Ian Howard, The White Hart Inn at Lydgate

‘You start to see them pulling back from the rich, ripe, obvious style, to a more elegant and Old World style: less alcohol and oak, more understated.’ Matthieu Longuère MS, Le Cordon Bleu London


Award winners

Found 10 wines

New World: Viognier

Siegel, Special Reserve Viognier 2016, Colchagua Valley, Chile

Gold medal winner

Coq d’Argent’s Andrés Ituarte praised this Gold winner’s ‘candied peach and apricot fruit, well-balanced acidity with white pepper and saline notes on the palate’, while Stefan Kobald of Jason Atherton Group found it ‘fruit-forward with beeswax, citrus and a long finish’. Ian Howard of The White Hart Inn at Lydgate described ‘big pear flavour, with good acidity and length, and slightly off-dry’, while Matthieu Longuère MS of Le Cordon Bleu London thought it ‘concentrated and intense, as well as good value’.

£6.68 Carson Wines

Lismore, The Age of Grace, Viognier 2016, Western Cape, South Africa

Gold medal winner

This Gold winner was like a breath of ‘fresh, cold mountain air’ for Tanya Mann of Linden House Stansted, with its ‘beautiful, very elegant style and many layers of aromas and fruit characters’. ‘Floral, rose water, pear drop, camomile, beeswax and citrus, rich and complex,’ added Jason Atherton Group’s Stefan Kobald. Buddha Bar’s Piotr Artur Tomaszewski found ‘wet stones on the nose, as well as a very herbaceous character. Peach, pear, green pepper and a touch of red grapefruit make this a good summer wine, ideal for ceviche, white fish sashimi or sole.’

£15.14 Hallgarten & Novum Wines

Delicato Family Vineyards, Gnarly Head, Viognier 2015, California, USA

Silver medal winner

Impressing team leader Angela Reddin with its ‘complex and characterful, bright apricot, Asian pear and kumquat attack and superb, long finish’, this was definitely a ‘foodie wine’ for Frédéric Billet of Luton Hoo Hotel Golf & Spa, showing ‘great balance and elegance, start to finish’.

£10.98 Bibendum

Emiliana, Novas, Gran Reserva, Viognier 2016, Casablanca Valley, Chile

Silver medal winner

Tanya Mann of Linden House Stansted was keen on this ‘fresh, dry, spicy and salty, not typical’ style, while Stefan Kobald of Jason Atherton Group highlighted its ‘pear drop, peach skin, sherbet and orange blossom with waxy character and slate minerals’.

£7.30 Boutinot

Saronsberg, Viognier 2016, Tulbagh, Western Cape, South Africa

Silver medal winner

Stefan Kobald of Jason Atherton Group felt this wine was ‘developing’, with its ‘aromatic, mineral nose, followed by stone fruit on a waxy, oily palate that leads to a slightly salty mid-palate and a long, mineral finish’.

£9.50 Inverarity Morton

Bisquertt, La Joya, Gran Reserva, Viognier 2016, Colchagua Valley, Chile

Bronze medal winner

A light, fresh and vibrant fruit salad of a wine, with our judges finding notes of peach blossom and grapefruit, pear drops and peach, light orchard fruits and fresh peppers with hints of tinned apricot and lemon bonbons, as well as floral and mineral touches on the finish.

£5.39 Molson Coors

Millton Vineyard, Riverpoint, Viognier 2014, Gisborne, New Zealand

Bronze medal winner

Intrigued by its ‘oxidative, really interesting’ style, Andrés Ituarte of Coq d’Argent found ‘guava, cantaloupe melon and very floral notes, with bright acids and a white pepper note on the finish’.

£12.60 Bibendum

Cline Cellars, North Coast, Viognier 2015, California, USA

Commended medal winner

£8.84 Boutinot

Waterkloof, Circumstance, Viognier 2016, Stellenbosch, South Africa

Commended medal winner

£11.29 Boutinot

Deakin Estate, Viognier 2016, Victoria, Australia

Commended medal winner

 

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