Yalumba Eden Valley Viognier 2015
If anyone is going to get Viognier right, then surely it would be Yalumba, who have famously embraced the V weed as their USP variety.
Good luck to them.
Sorry Viognier, but I can’t help it. I loved you so much when I first tried an example of you from Cuilleron at an Ultimo Wine Centre tasting 15 years ago. Back then I thought you and Gewurz were the most aromatically interesting white grapes in the world. That hasn’t changed, but gee I’ve had plenty of middling examples of both varieties since…
Part of the problem is the grape itself. Yalumba’s Louisa Rose once said that Viognier has one of the shortest picking windows of any grape variety, which means if you go too early it’s flavourless juice, too late and it’s marmalade. A day or two is all that’s in it.
To get nerdy for a second, Viognier has a very quick ‘engustment’ period, which means it goes from hard to soft/ripe late and quick. Stir in the naturally high phenolics of Viognier and you’ve got a potential for wines that are anything but balanced.
But back to this Yalumba Viognier. It’s what you wish more Viognier would taste like. What more should smell like too. It all kicks off with a nose that is open and correct. Think peach and apricot skin, in a distinctive aromatic mode. It’s just on the ‘under’ side of ripeness, but that’s better than the opposite. Texturally, it’s a dynamo, viscous and fleshy, with apricot skin, some (surprising) warmth and a finish that fans out with an attractive peach skin phenolic chew and crunch.
Lean, but not underripe, this is plenty appealing. I’d like just a little more of that hedonism that I always dream about (thanks Condrieu for ruining me), but the balance here tips me over the line. Best drinking: 2016-2020. 17.7/20, 92/100. 12.5%, $24. Would I buy it? I’d go a bottle for sure.