Raise hell with Viognier
Viognier, pronounced Vee-on-yay, is fathomlessly fashionable and a more aromatic alternative to Chardonnay. However, less loved by the grape grower, it is a very challenging vine to cultivate.
Thought to be derived from the Latin 'via Gehennae' meaning 'road to Hell', it is a high-maintenance grape that produces very little fruit for all the effort, and it must be picked precisely when fully ripe.
It has an almost elusive fragrance of honeysuckle, apricots, musky peaches and lusciously ripe pears, making all the drama worthwhile. Serve cool rather than chilled to appreciate its exotic character.
1) Uno de Mil Viognier 2011, Dominio de Punctum, DO La Mancha, Spain 12.5pc
A rich, nutty and warmed hay bouquet from six months' oak ageing. A very serious, intense and complex wine with a creamy texture. Biodynamically-grown grapes. Match with a creamy pork curry and peach chutney.
€23.95 at cases.ie and at Cases Wine Warehouse, Galway
2) Viognier 2013, Las Moras, San Juan Cuyo, Argentina 14pc
Musky scents on a full-bodied peachy wine with gentle acidity. Match with Thai red curry and chicken.
€9.99 in Dublin at Londis, KCR Kimmage; Blackrock Cellar; Cork's, Terenure; Jus de Vine, Portmarnock and Gerry's, Skerries
3) Viognier Reserva 2013, Autoritas, Rapel Valley, Chile 14pc
A full-bodied palate perfumed with jasmine and orange blossom, exotic and feminine. Try with cod poached lightly in freshly squeezed orange juice.
€11.95 at cases.ie and at Cases Wine Warehouse, Galway
4) Viognier 2010, Deakin Estate, Victoria, Australia 13.5pc
Fresh peachy aromas and flavours. Still youthful, fresh and tangy. Try with a creamy curry with red and yellow peppers, courgettes, butternut squash and toasted almonds.
€12.99 at Ardkeen Stores, Waterford; Cleland's Supermarkets, Laois, Kildare, Offaly and Carlow; Huttod, Charleville; Bradley's, North Main Street, Cork and Old Orchard Inn, Rathfarnham
5) Viognier 2014, Domaine de Belle Mare, Pays d'Oc, France 12.5pc
Medium-bodied with flavours of peach skin and white peach flesh. White pepper spice on the finish is lifted with refreshing acidity. Enjoy with a herby vegetarian terrine sprinkled with petals of chive flowers.
€13.25 at winesdirect.ie and Wines Direct Shop, Mullingar
6) Viognier 2013, Le Versant, Foncalieu, Pays d'Oc, France 12.5pc
Hint of musk followed by apricot and white pepper. Excellent balance between the moderate alcohol, acidity and fruit flavours. Awarded a Silver Medal at the Concours Mondial de Bruxelles competition last year.
€13.99 in Dublin at McHugh's, Kilbarrack Road and Artane; Redmond's, Ranelagh; Red Island Wines, Skerries; Baggot Street Wines; Martin's, Fairview; Dicey's, Ballyshannon and online: mchughs.ie