When pondering Long Island wines, one may think cabernet Franc for red, and chardonnay or riesling for white. But Viognier is another beautiful Long Island wine to consider. Viognier is a grape most often associated with the Rhone Valley region in France, but two Long Island vineyards have captured the essence of this lovely grape and produced two wines that are both approachable and elegant.
The first is the 2018 RGNY Viognier. This sophisticated wine is produced from 100% Viognier grapes fermented in stainless steel tanks with 20% of the juice being aged for six months in French oak.
There are no oak flavor characteristics imparted to the wine, but there is a lovely, soft mouth feel. This wine is supple, smooth, floral, with light notes of pineapple. It retails for $33. Check out the RGNY website at rgnywine.com.
The second, is the 2020 Peconic Bay Vineyards Viognier. This gorgeous wine is in a graceful Mosel style bottle and the wine inside is equally lovely. Unlike the RGNY Viognier, this wine spends no time in oak. Peconic Bay’s winemaker Greg Gove says, “This wine was entirely fermented in stainless steel at cool temperatures.” He adds, “I used a strain of yeast known for expressing the aromatic character of this varietal.”
This is a lyrical wine with notes of citrus fruit, hibiscus, and honeysuckle. It’s also soft and silky smooth. It retails for $22. Visit the Peconic Bay Vineyards website at peconic-bay-vineyards.square.site.
This wine varietal is a pleasure to pair with light foods, such as salads, seafood and pasta with light or creamy sauces. While easily a go-to wine for the summer, it shouldn’t be ruled out year-round as a light, refreshing alternative — without any overly aggressive citrus or acidity — to expected whites such as sauvignon blanc or even pinot grigio.