2012 Viognier, Estate Grown and Bottled, Santa Ynez Valley
Our wines are made from sustainably farmed grapes that are 100 percent estate grown, produced and bottled. With over 40 years of grape growing experience in the Santa Ynez Valley, our winemaking and vineyard teams meticulously farm our vineyard to focus on terroir-driven wines. We began growing Rhône varieties in 1978 when we were the first to plant Syrah in Santa Barbara County. Since then, we have learned that grape varieties planted in the Rhône Valley of France are best suited to our estate.
Purchased in 1972, our vineyard soils are composed of Chamise Loam and Chamise Shaly Loam. They are well-drained soils that developed over gravelly beds of silt, clay, shale rock and other 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 high-density plantings of Rhone varietals with new rootstock and clone combinations.
Growing Season and Harvest
2012 was a fantastic year for growing grapes in the Santa Ynez Valley. We had average rainfall in the winter months and a mild spring allowing for perfect bloom and set conditions. Summer was a touch cooler than average, permitting great flavor development at lower sugar levels. The harvest began right on schedule in early September and with stunning growing conditions continued until the first week of November.
After we hand harvested this Viognier, it began fermenting in stainless steel tanks. Halfway through fermentation it was transferred into 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 20 acres of our estate 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.
"Kicking off with a tight nose of lemongrass and limestone, this is a Viognier for fans of Sauvignon Blanc. It keeps razor-sharp focus on the palate, with tart apple flavors and zesty acidity that wipes the flavors clean rather quickly, but verges ever so slightly towards a hint of tropical papaya." -M.K. 89 Points, Wine Enthusiast Magazine, Sept. 2014.
"Crisp and refreshing, this offers a mix of lemon, grapefruit and apple flavors, with floral and mineral accents on the finish. Drink now." -M.W. 88 Points, Wine Spectator Magazine, March 2014.
"This 100% varietal wine is one of the best Viognier buys in California. It's dry and crisp in acidity, with slightly oaky notes accenting ripe flavors of peaches, limes, apricots and honeydew. This would be a good buy at twice the price." -S.H. 90 Points, Wine Enthusiast Editors' Choice, Dec. 2013.
"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.