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International Viognier Day – have you tasted it yet?

Viognier adVINture

The end of April saw the world celebrate International Viognier Day so we wanted to share our delicious range with you. Viognier [“Vee-own-yay”] is a full-bodied white wine that originated in southern France. This wine is for those who love to stop and smell the flowers. Viognier ranges in taste from lighter flavours of tangerine, mango and honeysuckle to creamier aromas of vanilla with spices of nutmeg and clove.

If you love Viognier:

  • If you love the floral notes of Viogner you can also seek out dry Moscatel from Portugal, Torrontés from Argentina
  • If you love the richness of a creamy oaked Viognier, you’ll also be keen on oak-aged versions of Marsanne, Roussanne, Trebbiano (from Italy) and Chardonnay

You can see all our Viognier wines here and we have chosen a few in particular to tell you more about below:

Pierre Gaillard, Côtes du Rhône Viognier ‘Les Gendrines’ 2018

A French white wine from Northern Rhône that’s made with 100% Viognier grapes. 

Pierre Gaillard continues to produce some of the most stunning wines from his 25 hectare domaine near Malleval. Handling the Viognier, Roussanne, Marsanne and Syrah with the same gifted care, he offers a very fine and wide range of wines. We are only importing a limited selection from his superlative collection. When he is not busy in the Northern Rhône, he is helping his daughters, Jeanne in Crozes Hermitage and Elise in Banyuls, whilst even finding time to run a small estate in Faugères.

Tasting Notes: 

Fresh, floral and fruity. Derived from granite-laden slopes.

Mas Carlot, Costières de Nîmes Blanc Château Paul Blanc 2017

A French white wine from Southern Rhône that blends Viognier with Roussanne grapes.

Nathalie Blanc-Marès runs her imposing 75 hectares estate from the charming 17th and 19th century Provençal farmhouse (Mas) at the heart of her property near Bellegarde in the Costières de Nîmes. Just north of the Camargue, much of the terrain is covered by the ‘galets roulés’ stones that are so symbolic of certain terroirs of Châteauneuf du Pape. Nathalie took over the running of the estate in 1998, following on from her father Paul-Antoine Blanc, who had purchased the domaine in 1986 having relinquished his famous Le Pied de Cochon restaurant in Les Halles. This young, energetic and passionate woman set herself the objective of focusing on quality and authenticity, via rigorous work in the vineyard, the winemaking and the ageing of her wines, in order to allow the various terroirs of the domaine to fully express themselves through the different wines in her portfolio.

The red clay and limestone soils (topped with galets roulés) provide a perfect environment for the vines. The galets insulate and protect the vines from temperature extremes. Most of Mas Carlot’s production is dedicated to red varieties, including Syrah, Grenache and Mourvèdre. For the white varieties, Nathalie chose to focus on Roussanne, Marsanne and Viognier. Most of the vineyards lie at 70 metres above sea level and face southeast. Through thoughtful pruning, Nathalie reduces yields to an average of 45 hectolitres per hectare, one-third of the maximum permitted by the appellation.

The result is a range of exceptional white wines that complement perfectly her classic reds. Modern technology ensures the production of hugely enjoyable wines at everyday prices. Maintaining the freshness of the grapes is of paramount importance. The Château Paul Blanc wines represent Nathalie’s premium offering – named after her father.

Grange des Rocs, Sauvignon Viognier IGP d’Oc 2020

A French white wine from the Languedoc that blends Viognier with Sauvignon Blanc grapes and is also vegan. 

Languedoc is the source of many great wines of true individuality, as well as some very mediocre offerings. The diversity of style, quality and price is, indeed, wide. Our own red and white wine selections from Grange des Rocs are special cuvées produced from carefully put together blends of the best local grapes, selected by us to reflect our house style and ethos. Winemaker Claude Serra is immensely well respected in the Languedoc region, acting as a consultant for several estates as well as producing wine at his own domaine. We work very closely with Claude in order to produce wines, which offer the best of the region, whilst also delivering great value and authenticity. Genuinely tempting wines that invite you to enjoy that second glass, but that still retain a distinct personality. The focus is fairly and squarely on the fruit, ensuring a true expression of the particular grape varieties in a harmonious marriage of flavours. Balance, too, is key, so ripeness, concentration and freshness will each play their part. Consistently good, notwithstanding the vagaries of the harvest, Grange des Rocs allows the customer to have confidence in every bottle, time after time.

Tasting Notes:

Pale yellow robe with straw yellow nuances. Brilliant and limpid colour. The nose is fresh with notes of peaches. Aromatic and fresh on the palate. Crisp and grassy finish.

Saronsberg Wines, Saronsberg Viognier Tulbagh 2017

A South African white wine from the Western Cape that’s made with 100% Viognier grapes.

Nestled at the foot of the mountain after which it is named, Saronsberg is a contemporary addition to the rich heritage of Tulbagh Valley, comprising 40 hectares of vines: two-thirds red, one-third white. Created by Nick van Huyssteen in 2002, Saronsberg is managed by winemaker Dewaldt Heyns and it is clear to see his love of Rhône winemaking styles in the two Shiraz-dominated wines under the ‘Artspace’ label, which are cracking value for the price. Dewaldt has worked in Sonoma, USA, and also in France, which he says broadened his horizons (he is a member of the prestigious Cape Wine Guild). This proved to be a winning combination, with Saronsberg performing constantly at the highest level, receiving numerous awards since its maiden vintage.

The Tulbagh region lies between three mountain ranges: the Witzenberg, the Obiqua and the Winterhoek. The only route that lies open is towards the sea, across the Breede Valley situated 80km off the Atlantic coast, with a continental climate of Mediterranean summers and cold, wet winters. Soils can be broadly classified into 3 categories depending on their location:

  1. Red/ yellow clay loam with some fine gravel on the slopes of the Saronsberg Mountain
  2. Deposited boulder beds and sandy-loam alluvial soils surrounding the Klein Berg River
  3. Mid-valley shales towards the centre of the Tulbagh Valley

The bulk of the vineyards are planted in the mid-valley medium deep soils that have developed from Malmesbury shale. The aspect is roughly east, with an average height of 160-185m. The rainfall is 450-550mm per year (June to September). The general wind direction is south easterly, providing a cooling effect in the afternoons.

All wine grapes are handpicked in the early morning, then cooled to 4°C. A majority of the wines are Bunch sorted, destemmed & berry sorted on vibration tables (unless stated otherwise).

Vines on partially weathered shale as well as red/ yellow clay-loam soils. Grapes pressed whole-bunch. Only 1st light pressings are used. Juice settled at 5°C for 48 hrs, then racked. 25% portion undergoes wild fermentation with balance inoculated with cultured yeast in 1/3 each of 1st, 2nd and 3rd fill 500L Allier French oak barrels. Fermentation continues for 21 days on average at temperatures ranging between 13°C and 18°C. Aged on fine lees with malolactic fermentation prevented to preserve finer flavours. Barrel maturation 11 mths, bottled with a fine sheet filtration.

Tasting Notes:

This wine is the ideal accompaniment to foods with subtle spicy aromas and flavours. Although it spent 11 months in oak we strive to produce a wine that is still lively and fresh with varied and delicate flavours, showcasing the subtleties and finesse that Viognier is capable of.

Contact us about any of these wines at

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