|Viognier thats better than bad its good|
Massena ‘The Surly Muse’ Viognier 2012 (Barossa, SA)
13.5%, Screwcap, $20
Long time readers will well know my general disregard for Viognier, also known as ‘the v weed’. It’s a variety that, for a little while there, was a compulsory addition to any Australian Shiraz (God help us all) with a range of either under or overripe white wines to match. There was no Cote Rotie or Condrieu, just apricots. Apricots in Shiraz too, which is so many shades of wrong.
Thankfully the Shirognier craze has well passed, with many of the wines left behind at least mildly drinkable. Maybe.
This Massena too makes no sense. How can it be this good? How can it be that I was almost tempted to buy one? I’ve changed. Go to bed Andrew you’re clearly drunk. Or such.
Even more wildly, this is sourced from Koonunga Hill, ground zero for full bodied Barossan red wines (they call Koonunga Hill ‘Grange territory’) and a sub-region where white grapes just aren’t allowed. The grapes for this were grown adjacent to a tract of old vine Grenache and Mataro too, just to emphasise to the younger Viognier vines how inferior they are.
This Viognier, however, is anything but inferior. It’s rather well balanced actually, helped along by supporting viticulture and winemaking. The grapes were picked in two stages, one early pick for freshness and another harvest up to four weeks later for more flavour. It then spent 6 months on lees, in seasoned french oak barriques. A good recipe for flavour and texture.
You can’t smell the oak either, which is a great sign. Instead, this has honeysuckle, lemon juice, lime toast and a healthy dose of ginger. No apricot concentrate in sight either. On the palate, the acidity balances out the weighty fruit and sweetness of alcohol, delivering a full and juicy sort of wine but one of refreshment too. Refreshing Viogniers are good Viogniers, and this attractive early drinker is a very tasty rendition for the price. Polite claps all round. 17.8/20 92/100