2010 Viognier, Estate Grown and Bottled, Santa Ynez Valley
We hand craft our wines with integrity using traditional methods from grapes sustainably grown in our Santa Barbara County vineyard. Since 1973, we have farmed and nurtured our vineyard to produce wines that are true to the unique spirit of our land. We began growing Rhone varieties in 1978 when we were the first to plant Syrah in Santa Barbara County. Over the years, we have learned that wines indigenous to the Rhone Valley of France are ideally suited to our estate.
Our vineyard soils are Chamise Loam which are well-drained soils that developed over gravelly beds of silt and clay, and sandy water-deposited materials. These soils are on dissected high terraces (or mesas) with elevations of 1500 feet above sea level. This high elevation provides cooler nights, which translates into wines retaining their natural acidity. Since 1997, the winery has replanted more than half of its original vines with a high-density planting of new rootstock and clone combinations.
Growing Season and Harvest:
Winter rains in 2011 were on average below normal. A hard freeze occurred on April 8th and 9th damaging our vines new growth. Late-spring was unusually cold and wet, which limited fruit set and dropped yields even further. Summer was generally mild with a lot of ocean moisture leading to a harvest that started two weeks later than normal. We very patiently waited while the grapes ripened, with the final grapes being picked on November 1st. With historically low yields and a mild growing season, you’ll find 2011 to be a year with exceptional quality and depth.
After we hand harvested this Viognier, it began fermenting in stainless steel tanks. Halfway through fermentation it was transferred to neutral French oak barrels that were over 10 years old. The wine was then aged for three months, but was not allowed to go through malolactic fermentation. This short barrel aging allows the wine to build texture and mouth-feel while retaining it brightness.
Viognier is a white grape variety indigenous to the Rhône Valley of France. We are so taken with this beautifully aromatic varietal that we have dedicated over 20 acres of our vineyard to Viognier.
Our Viognier has aromas of honeysuckle and white peach. The palate has notes of ripe apricot, lemon-lime, melon, lychee and a lingering touch of minerality, a signature characteristic of our vineyard.
"This is Zaca Mesa's best Viognier in at least 10 years. Dry and crisp in zesty acidity, with a firm minerality, it avoids the variety's exotic side, offering streamlined, complex flavors of citrus fruit, Asian pear, peach and white pepper. -S.H." 91 Points, Wine Enthusiast Editors' Choice, February 2013.
"An elegant white, offering lemon, grapefruit, and green apple flavors that show details of apple blossem and celery leaf. - J.L." 88 Points TOP VALUES, Wine Spectator Magazine, August 2013.
"Winemaker Eric Mohseni's predilection for light, briskly balanced whites shows first in this pert, white peach, quietly floral aromas and is reiterated fully in the bright, energetic, acid-crisped flavors that follow. While it never lacks for ripeness or for fullness on the palate, it is also alive and vital all the way to the finish. A year in bottle will add a bit of depth." 90 Points, One-Puff. Connoisseurs' Guide to California Wine, May 2011.
"Bright yellow-gold. Classic peachy, spicy, floral viognier aromas. Then sweet, creamy and expansive, with a velvety texture and lush pit fruit flavors. Spreads out impressively and really stains the palate on the aftertaste, which shows a touch of warmth. Bright acidity and a kiss of white pepper give this rich wine welcome cut and energy." 87 Points. Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar. November/December 2010
"This Viognier takes the variety's exotic tropical fruit and orange flavors, combines them with minerals, and finishes off with a crisp bite of acidity. The result is a rich, elegant wine, with a hint of honeyed sweetness. SH" 87 Points, Wine Enthusiast, September 2010.
"The 2009 Viognier exhibits what appears to be the vintage's personality -- loads of up-front fruit in an exuberant style. Consumers will love this style, with possesses peach, honeysuckle, apricot, and floral notes. It has zesty acidity, although not a lot of depth, but on a superficial level, it is a pleasant Viognier. Drink it over the next year." 86 points. Robert M. Parker's The Wine Advocate, August 2010.
“There is very little about this very ripe and outgoing wine that can be called subtle, but when it comes to richness and plentiful fruit, this one stand with the best. Long on sweet peaches and pears with complexing highlights of honey, blossoms and spice, it is a complete and fully expressed Viognier whose brightness and balance are as noteworthy as its exemplary fruit. It is so well structured, in fact, that it will keep well for a few years should there be any who do not succumb to its immediate charms.” 91 points, 2-Puffs, Good Value. Connoisseurs’ Guide to California Wine, March 2009
“Pale gold. Varietally typical aromas of peach, flowers and smoky minerals, with a subtle citrus pith note adding vivacity. Medium-weight pit fruit flavors are nicely framed by a refreshingly bitter lime quality. A touch sweet on the finish, but delivers solid value and would work well with spicy Asian dishes.” 87 Points, International Wine Cellar, November/December 2008.
“Zaca Mesa once again brings their deft touch to this hard-to-control variety. A bit more structured and leaner than previous vintages, the wine is dry and complex, with refreshing acidity framing flavors of tropical fruit chutney, honeysuckle, vanilla and cinnamon spice.” Editors Choice 90 Points, Wine Enthusiast, November 15, 2008
“Light to medium-light golden yellow; pleasant, herbal, earthy, lemony, white peach, and honeysuckle aroma; medium-full bodied; forward, slightly viscous, white peach and apricot flavors with bright acidity and a note of minerality; lingering aftertaste.” Highly Recommended, 88/100. California Grapevine, August-September 2008
Best of Show, Best White Wine, Best White Rhône Varieties - Santa Barbara County Fair Wine Competition
Platinum Medal - Critics Challenge Wine Competition
Gold Medal - Los Angeles International Wine Competition
“Wine of the Day” November 29, 2009 eRobertParker.com
“Takes the variety’s exotic, tropical fruit and flower personality and frames it with dryness and crispness to produce that rarest of rarities, a balanced Viognier. Try as a spicier alternative to Chardonnay.” 90 Points, Wine Enthusiast, November 2009
“Notes of acacia flowers and nectarine combine to give this substantial white lift and elegance. It gains definition with air, balancing bright citrus and ripe stone fruit flavors through the long finish. Try it with the dark meat of a roast chicken.” 91 Points, Wine & Spirits, October 2009
“Perhaps the strongest line-up of wines I have yet tasted from Zaca Mesa, their 2008 Viognier, which must have just been bottled, has excellent white peach, honeysuckle, and other flowery notes in a medium-bodied, wonderfully fresh, pure style, with impressive purity, texture, and freshness. This wine should be drunk over the next year.” 89 Points, Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate, August 2009
“Floral fruit-basket aromas with a crisp apple-y mid-palate and great acid.” Exceptional, Dan Berger’s Vintage Experiences, June 18, 2009
Best White Rhône Variety, Santa Barbara County Wine Competition, June 2009