With Jessica Hill-Smith & Louisa Rose
Just watched a fascinating and very enjoyable Zoom Viognier tasting along with Yalumba’s amiable Jessica Hill-Smith, generational descendent of Yalumba’s founder Samuel Smith and senior brand manager, and the equally amiable and knowledgable head winemaker Louisa Rose, appearing together to celebrate International Viognier day (29th April). During the video, we tasted their range of four Viogniers starting with the entry-level Yalumba Y series, then onto the Organic, the Eden Valley and finishing with their flagship Viognier the Virgilius.
What better way to Celebrate International Viognier day than tasting these four exceptional wines with Louisa and Jessica guiding us along the way with their expertise and enthusiasm. I’m very familiar with the Y Series, the Organic and to some extent the Eden Valley, but I was really looking forward to tasting the Virgilius, mainly due to the fact that I enjoy some oak in my wines (as regular readers will know).
Over a very informative hour we tasted our way through these excellent wines and here are my thoughts…….
All suitable chilled (not overly) we began with the entry-level Y series, the Organic then the more premium Eden Valley and finally finishing with the star of the show the Virgilius. You will notice that all of these wines are screw caps.
Yalumba Y series Viognier 2021
You can pick this up here in the UK for around £8 and to be honest for an entry-level wine it’s a pretty impressive offering great varietal character at a very keen price. So this may well be the simplest flavour profile of the wines but no less enjoyable, using 100% wild fermentation, meaning only wild yeasts present in the vineyards are used. In the glass aromas of lemons and stone fruits mainly apricots, the apricots come through in the taste as well along with a little ginger and orange blossom. What you really notice though is the freshness in this wine not so much from the acidity (as Viognier is a low acidity wine) but according to Louisa, from the skins and Phenolics.
Yalumba Organic Viognier 2021
Made from minimal winemaking intervention and again with natural wild yeast, comes this organic bottle again with stone fruit flavours, including peach and apricots, lots of spice and maybe a touch of fennel, along with great soft texture, mouthfeel and freshness. Also as in all the Viognier range it’s a great food wine, try it with spicy food.
Yalumba Eden Valley Viognier 2018
According to Louisa, if you want to show off what Viognier really is then this Eden Valley showcases everything you need to know. Still showing that stone fruit peach, apricot and a little spiciness characteristic. Gives a perception of sweetness (although there is no sugar added) but it’s that texture and opulence which give it that so-called sweetness. No high acidity here, just a lovely softness and richness, which makes it a great food wine, Louisa also told us that if you close your eyes and taste this wine it almost feels like red wine and you can easily drink this with perhaps a steak. Must admit I loved this one!
Yalumba The Virgilius 2018
We ended with the star of the show The 2018 Virgilius, not just the flagship Viognier but their premier white wine in general. This is a wine that can age well and evolve, back in 2003 they made the first Virgilius with a screwcap and it’s still beautifully fresh now. A wine that you can confidently decant and it will react and change as you drink it, 100% barrel fermented in older oak which gives it that aromatic rich style. Still lots of apricots and peach but with some stem candied ginger in the mix. There’s a creaminess about it as well as white flowers coming through, and a hint of smokiness.
So in all, a wonderful tasting through four styles of Yalumba Viogniers, something for everyone I would suggest, from the simpler fresh bright tasting Y and Organic bottles to the richer more textured Eden Valley and especially the Virgilius.