2010 Viognier, Estate Grown and Bottled Santa Ynez Valley
Viognier is a white grape variety indigenous to the Rhône Valley of France. We are so taken with this aromatic and intensely flavored varietal that we have dedicated 37 acres of our vineyard to Viognier.
Growing Season and Harvest
It was another cold and dry winter in the Santa Ynez Valley. Spring mild and long with plenty of cool sunshine to awake the vines. Summer was surprising cool as well, but we welcomed the usually heat spite around early September. September just about finished before we started picking the whites, several weeks later than usual. A threatening storm quickened our pace in mid-October, as we raced Mother Nature. The mild year provided great flavor development without excess sugar for wine of great quality and balance.
After we hand harvested this Viognier, it began fermenting in stainless steel tanks. Halfway through fermentation, it was transferred to French oak barrels that are over 5 years old. The wine was then aged for three months, but was not allowed to go through malolactic fermentation. This short barrel aging provides the rich, creamy mouth feel.
On the nose, aromas of honeysuckle and white peach hint at sweetness. However, this wine is dry on the palate with notes of ripe apricot, lemon-lime, melon and lychee. A lingering finish has a touch of minerality, a signature characteristic of our vineyard. A natural pairing would be Thai chicken, raw oysters, ahi tuna or Szechuan prawns. Serve cool (40-45ºF).
"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.
"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