It was a delight to discover a new wine shop in Poole. New to me, at least – it might have been there a number of years, but the Deli on the Quay has at least an equivalent size range to that offered by the Tesco express and whatever Sainsbury’s call their version of a Tesco Express. Only Asda can claim a wider range, and, judging by a cursory glance, none of the supermarkets could claim a better range.
Most of the Deli’s range is at the pricier end of the spectrum, so I was pleased to see this little bottle of French Viognier at a reasonable price, and even more pleased when it went through the till at £8 – at least £2 cheaper than the label on the shelf had indicated (though I kept my mouth shut).
I’ve not had a French Viognier before; like Malbec in the world of red wines, Viognier has been reborn in far-flung places like Argentina and Australia, and is nowadays perhaps better known as a New World varietal. That being said, they still grow plenty at home in France, and this example by Paul Sapin was a nice introduction to that concept for me.
Abroad I find Viogniers tend to be slightly tropical and fruity – plenty of apricot and a bit of pineapple, but often with a curiously oily texture. Sort of like an alien take on Chardonnay, but rarely as buttery.
This French version was a little lighter and more perfumed in its approach: decidedly floral in bouquet and with its multifarious fruit notes jostling with those petal flavours on the tongue too. Its oiliness was seen a little in its tenacity in clinging to the glass (or perhaps that was the alcohol) and in its light, haylike colour, while on the tongue there were hints of melon, pear and even honey.
I’ve read others comparing its taste to yogurt (in earlier years’ bottlings), but I confess I didn’t pick any of that up. It was relatively light in acidity, I thought, and – to come back to the oil – more oily than buttery, unlike some oaky Chardonnays who might have equivalent fruit flavours.
Indeed, I think I found it most similar to a French Chardonnay, while perhaps baring some resemblances to Alsace Pinot Gris or Gewurtz. Hardly surprising, I guess, given that New World Viogniers tend to be closest in character to New World Chardonnays.
Having said that, it was certainly its own beast, and while I wasn’t absolutely mad about it, I enjoyed what was – for me – a rather different white wine experience to any I’ve recently had, and I wouldn’t be put off a deeper exploration of either the varietal or the producer’s, Monsieur Sapin’s, wines.