With Viognier designated the official grape of Virginia, I expected to find several impressive examples during my recent visit, but I was on the whole disappointed. Viognier should be explosively aromatic with some weight and texture on the palate, but most of the examples I tasted were closed and tight, pleasant and refreshing enough, but not the hedonistic extroverts that could compete with the better producers in the Northern Rhone.
Sunset Hills was an exception. Aromatically intense with pear and muskmelon taking center stage with lemon zest highlights. The energetic palate displayed bright citrus flavors, a medium body with appealing fleshiness and just the barest hint of glycerin. A bitter herbal note introduces the long lemony finish. Exquisitely balanced with vibrant acidity.
Playfully elegant with just enough sweetness to pair with foods with some natural sugar. I paired it with a carrot soup with carrot-top pesto that made the wine and soup shine.
Flamboyant Viognier–The great ones bring to mind the dearly departed David Bowie. This rates at least a Katie Perry.