Viognier deserves wider distribution that it is currently getting in Canada. It is a wine with character that so many dry white wines do not have. But as it has character it has certain characteristics you are either drawn to or not. If you are a fan of Gewurztraminer you should be one of Viognier. They are distinct and speak loudly but each have distinct and related characteristics.
There is a decent amount of Viognier flowing in from Southern France into the Liquor Control Board of Ontario some of it excellent while some is watery and diffuse.
One good French Viognier is Domaine de la Baume 2016. It has a deep gold colour and on the nose apricot, peach, honey and ripe pear. On the palate the honey, apricot and tangerine meld beautifully with a slight peppery or minerality to its finish due to the limestone soils it was grown in along with silt and clay. A moderately long finish. This is a muscular wine beautifully made calling for grilled pork tenderloin or rabbit or a chicken in a cream and tarragon sauce. Yes it would also suit shellfish. It would suit a Thanksgiving turkey provided you are not smothering it with a cranberry sauce.
If this wine does not win you over to the Viognier camp so be it but at least give this underpriced wine a try.
(Domaine de La Baume Elisabeth Viognier 2019, IGP Pays d’Oc, CDL À, Landrias France, $15.95, Liquor Control Board of Ontario # 438796, 750 mL, 14.5%, Robert K. Stephen A Little Birdie Told Me So Rating 89/100).
California does a fairly good job with Viognier but how does the Montpellier 2020 Viognier fare? It is medium gold in colour. On the nose green apple, pear, peach and tangerine. On the palate very tight and not as expansive as many Viogniers can be. Apricot and peach very tightly knit. Short finish. The wine simply doesn’t let itself hang out with joy and the full expression Viognier is capable of. However no Viognier is exactly the same. I can appreciate the tight and compact style. There is nothing technically wrong with the wine so I take this as simply a matter of style. You might want to call it refined? It might suit a palate that is used to muted white wines. I would pair this with a Spaghetti alla Nerano from Campania. You can see the recipe here https://www.the-pasta-project.com/wprm_print/recipe/2557
(Montpellier 2020 California Viognier, Montpellier Vineyards, Napa, California, $19.95, LCBO # 658138, 750 mL, 12.5%, Robert K. Stephen A Little Birdie Told Me So Rating 91/100).