Viognier is a wine that is becoming more popular. It has the potential to be full-bodied like Chardonnay, but with much more aromatic fruit characteristics. The tricky thing about Viognier is that the grape has a tendency to attain very high sugar levels, which results in a wine very high in alcohol (During fermentation, sugar is converted into alchohol). When this kind of sugar level develops before the fruit characteristics have developed, the wine produced ends up being out of balance-lots of alcohol and very little flavor. This tendency towards high sugar levels requires an expert winemaker who knows exactly how to handle them. Viognier is sometimes aged in oak, but the contact with air resulting from the oak aging process can potentially destroy those subtle hints of fruit.
The best Viogniers are made in Condrieu and Château Grilllet, two very small areas in the northern Rhône valley. These are wines that have delicate floral aromas, soft textures, an mineral flavors. Viognier is also made successfully in the south of france, California, and Australia. Viognier is almost always a wine meant to be drank young.