Despite being Australia's self appointed champion of viognier, I used to think Yalumba held a single ace in their pack when it came to the white Rhône variety. However, recent years have caused a rethink on my behalf, as Louisa Rose and her team are fashioning more complexity and restrained elegance into their entry level wines. The Eden Valley Viognier in particular, is starting to show flashes of becoming a mini-Virgilius.
Apparently lacking the savoury elegance and charm I'd hoped for, the 2010 Eden Valley Viognier initially opts towards a primary, fruit driven fragrance of tinned peaches, apricot juice and lychees, with a floral, rose petal-like edge contradicted by a spiky, erratic hit of exotic spice. It does flirt with pungency on the nose and I might look over this at a speed tasting, but then, as if right on cue, the palate comes forth and saves the day, by delivering a bright, long and creamy expression of well controlled varietal flavour. It's bold and slightly unctuous, unleashing a real mouthful of white peach, apricot skin and citrus zest characters, before it finishes long with creamy apricot notes and a penetrative framework of glistening, grapefruit-like acids, all washed around the mouth with a touch of phenolic fuzz which dances to a funky beat whilst staying true to the rhythm. For a pungently varietal, fruity viognier, it works.
ü I generally don't go for viogniers like this and on inspection of the nose I thought; 'ooh. Looks like another one of those viogniers Chris.' But amazingly, it's a load of fun to drink. It is quite (stone) fruity and vaguely phenolic in the typical viognier way, but its textural richness, penetrative length and balancing acids complete a fine wine. It ain't no mini-Virgilius though. Drink to 2013.