Wine Review: 2011 Rallison Pearl Family Vineyards Viognier, Applegate Valley

Wow, a refreshingly well made wine that is full flavored and relatively low in alcohol from a vintage that is not exactly heralded as one of the better harvests from Oregon. Applegate Valley AVA can be deceiving, especially for blind tastings. The 2011 Rallison Pearl Family Vineyards Viognier tastes like it was made from grapes grown in a moderate climate (not too cool, not too warm) but if you say southern Oregon most folks think of that area as being pretty warm. After all the days get up to 100F fairly often in the summer. To me the endearing factor for this bottle of juice is the simple elegance it delivers—not to be confused with sophisticated elegance. Like the perfect Bolognese or Carbonara sauce or tediously slow smoked pork shoulder, these classic honeysuckle and orange blossom flavors will resonate on even the most jaded of palates.

2011 Rallison Pearl Family Vineyards Viognier

The aromas of the Rallison Pearl Family Vineyards Viognier offer up the same floral complexity found in the flavors I just described with a hint of fresh baked amaretto cookies. Beyond the honeysuckle and orange blossom, there is a fresh roasted hazelnut component and a bit of vanilla bean with a citrus zest twist. The finish is pleasantly surprising for Viognier, as so many versions of this variety will surprise you on the finish but not in a pleasant way. A perfect pairing would be grilled halibut with a tropical fruit salsa with mango or pineapple or both combined with an offsetting component of heat Serrano or Habenero depending on your heat level threshold.

Rating: Excellent (90) | $19 | 12.7% ABV