A Wine Lover’s View Of Verdelho And Viognier Grapes

The white Verdelho grape probably originated in Sicily. It may well have been introduced in the Fifteenth Century into the Madeira Islands situated east of Morocco. This grape later expanded into the Douro Valley of northern Portugal and then on to the Anjou region in the Loire Valley of western France. Verdelho is the dominant white grape of Madeira wines. It is still found in the Douro Valley of Portugal and the Loire Valley of Western France.

The characteristics of Verdelho wines tend to vary according to the climate, growing conditions, and the wine maker’s art. The resulting wine is often aromatic and relatively high in both alcohol and acidity. Its palate is often rich, herbaceous, spicy and nutty with tropical fruit flavors. In Portugal Verdelho produces fortified wines; it is an important component in the famous Madeira wines. In France Verdelho produces a dry white wine. In Australia these grapes are usually transformed into dry, fruity wines and fortified wines.

You may enjoy unfortified Verdelho wines with Chicken, Pork, Veal, or Seafood. You may enjoy Verdelho-based Madeira wines with Salads and Soups.

The Viognier grape was already known in the Roman era in the Rhone area of southeastern France. It is not widely planted. In fact, in the late 1960s its worldwide presence was the grand total of 35 acres (14 hectares) in France. In addition to the Rhone, some Viognier is grown in Languedoc-Roussillon in southern France. Viognier is also grown in small but rapidly increasing quantities in the United States, especially California, and in cooler areas of Australia.

Viognier grapes are fairly difficult to grow, and their yield is relatively small. Because Viognier wines tend to be low in acid, they should be consumed within a year or two after bottling. In France the unblended Viognier grape is transformed into the excellent Condrieu and Chateau Grillet wines. These rare gold-color wines are rich and full-bodied and taste of apricots and oranges. Viognier juice is also blended with Syrah in the red wines of the Rhone Valley.

Viognier is a good pairing for Chinese Chicken Salad, Chicken Tetrazzini, Pasta in a Vegetable Sauce, Quiche, Lobster, Salmon, Shrimp, Striped Bass, and Asian food. As you can see, this is quite a food friendly wine.

Over the years I have reviewed just a single Verdelho wine, one coming from South Australia/ I have reviewed a few Viognier wines, coming from Chile, Israel, and especially France.

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