Mo Wine Please – Viognier

Mo Wine Please



My preference, in general, is for red wines but there are those times and meals that call for white wine.

On Saturday night, rather than going out or even cooking up something at home, we decided to just put together a fruit, cheese and charcuterie platter for dinner.

fruit and cheese tray

The wine that Peter selected to pair with our “meal” was a 2012 Darioush Viognier.

Viognier (pronounced vee-ohn-yay) is a white Rhone varietal that produces wine with rich aromatics of stone fruits like peach and apricot. It is a wine that can stand up to spicy foods (think Thai) and also works well with cold shellfish.

I find it to be a very versatile white wine – kind of the white equivalent of Pinot Noir. Viognier pairs well with a wide range of foods and does not fight or overtake the flavors.  Like Pinot Noir, Viognier is a difficult grape to grow. The varietal almost became extinct in the 1960’s with only 40 acres remaining in the world. Slowly interest in the grape increased, it was brought to the United States in the 1980s and has experienced quite the come back.

This wine should be served cold but not ice cold. Fifty five degrees (achieved by putting the bottle in the refrigerator for 30-60 minutes) is perfect.  This is not a wine that should be aged; it should be consumed “young”.

Darioush is one of our favorite Napa wineries.  They produce a wide range of reds and whites and their winery is an incredible place to visit. A “must-see” when you are in Napa.

Darioush Winery

This is the entrance to the Darioush Winery. Amazing, right? (from

The first Viognier I ever tried was from Darioush about five or six years ago. Darioush’s website is one of my favorites because they provide great archives of their tasting notes. Here is what they have to say about the 2012 Darioush Viognier:

“Bright and enchanting, 2012 Signature Viognier opens with a perfume of tropical flowers, ginger and freesia – evocative of a stroll through a Hawaiian flower market at the height of summer. Temptingly juicy, bright and rather unctuous, the flavors span Asian pear, apricot, white peach and a tingling note of kumquat lightens and refreshes the palate. A vintage that has it all – intensity, layers of flavors and an impeccable seamlessness that lasts through the generously textured finish.”

Darioush Viognier


The 2012 Darioush Viognier retails for about $40, not everyone’s idea of an everyday wine but worth every penny.

Another choice, for half the price, is the Melville “Estate Verna’s” Viognier ($20). Described as presenting flavors of dried honey and vanilla and being a full- bodied wine that can stand up well to foods.

A better value still in the 2010 Cline Viognier at $12 per bottle. This wine, available at BevMo (I love their name!) online, exhibits aromas of honeysuckle, pears, apricots and orange blossoms.  It should pair well with anything from spicy stir-fry to grilled fish.

Cline Viognier


A couple of disclosures here: this is not a paid post.  I have enjoyed (many bottles) of the Darioush Viognier and am telling you my thoughts and opinions. My dear daughter, Annie, suggested that when I review a wine I should provide suggestions of similar bottles at different price points. She is a brilliant gal! I have not personally tried the Cline or Melville Viognier but have researched and relied on reviews from a variety of sites to make these recommendations. If you try one of these, I’d love to know what you think!

Have you enjoyed Viognier before? Do you have a favorite?

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  1. I have tried and enjoyed a Viognier before but don’t remember the label…thanks for the recommendations, Mo!

  2. I’m happy to make the sacrifice to try wines so I can make recommendations!

  3. I knew yesterday when I checked out your blog that I was going to like you – now I know why!!! You have a great deal of wine knowledge and I like to drink wine!!! I have very little idea about how to properly pair wine/food and the correct serving temperature. My favorite wine ever is some that my husband brings back when he is in Germany – it is a Reisling and the sweeter the better!!

    • Oooohhh, I love Reisling, too! I have to say I’m constantly learning about wine and this series is sort of my way to bridge the gap between “I know nothing” and “I am a wine snob”. Plus the research is fun and delicious!

  4. Mo, you’ve got me in wine school! I’m only now appreciating wines, so this has been a good beginner’s class. To good wine!

  5. I definitely prefer white over red, but I’ve never tried Viognier before. I’m definitely going to have to look for one the next time we go wine shopping so I can give it a try. Thanks for the recommendation!

  6. I prefer red over white but I don’t believe I have ever had Viognier before. I could definitely sit down for wine and cheese though…that could be dinner for sure. This is so nice having all these recommendations!!

    • We tend to drink lots and lots of red wine so it is nice to mix it up sometimes! The fruit and cheese dinner is also a welcome change in our routine!

  7. Your Annie is clever. What a great idea! I don’t believe I’ve ever had a Viognier before either. As I live in the heavily taxed BC it’ll be really interesting to see how the prices compare. We are often quite a bit pricier. Pals of mine zip across the border to Bellingham, Wa to pick up their wine. I’ll let you know when I find out.

  8. I have not tried one of those wines but just wrote it down to give a shot. And that dinner is exactly my speed! Love it!

  9. It sounds really delicious and perfect for a dinner party or hostess gift! :)-Ashley

  10. i know the place is kinda over the top, but i definitely love the wine at darioush. they’re amazing. i love both white and red so i can go either way; i’m very flexible 🙂

  11. I love white wines more than anything. Sometimes all you need is some cheese and meat spreads with the wine and you are good to go. I want to throw holiday party at home and considering doing a wine and cheese type party so would love to add this to the mix!

  12. Thanks for the recommendations! I have yet to try a Viognier. I am going to look for a place in Dallas who carries Cline and check it out! Your description of it sounds delicious and it’s in my price point. 🙂
    PS (Your Cheese Plate just made me super hungry)
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