Harvest at Naggiar begins this Thursday at 3 a.m. with our Viognier from block 16. Viognier is a white Rhone varietal from the north part of the Rhone River valley in the south of France. It is a widely planted varietal throughout the United States due to its versatility as a wine- it attracts lovers of Chardonnay, Riesling, and even Gewürztraminer. However, its accessibility as a wine is not reflected in the ease of growing and making wine with it- Viognier is a headache for growers and winemakers. Viognier is more susceptible to weather variations than other varietals, causing variations in the quality and quantity from year to year, thus making it hard to get a consistent flavor profile.
So starting under the lights at 3 a.m. on Thursday, we immediately crush and press the grapes as soon as they arrive at the winery, a whopping 5 minutes after picking. At Naggiar, all of our grape varietals are estate grown, enabling immediate processing. The importance of this is the fruit stays cold, inhibiting the growth of bacteria and yeast (which can cause spontaneous fermentation) as well as preventing premature oxidation in white varietals. We ferment this varietal in a number of different ways: on partial skins, in barrels, in cold stainless steel and sometimes a combination of all three methods within a vintage.
Viognier is the primary white varietal we use in our wines at Naggiar. Not only do we use it to make our varietal Viognier, but we use it in all of our white blends- Trois Demoiselles, Mamma Mia, La Contessa Sylvana, and Bellissima. As I mentioned above, it is hard to get a consistent aroma and flavor profile with Viogner, but generally our Viogner has flavors and aromas of lemon/lime, pears, apricots, peaches, citrus blossoms, and a slight musk/yogurt aroma. It pairs well with Indian and Thai food and with almost all cheeses.
As you can see, there are many wines and ways to enjoy our Viognier and white blends. I can’t think of a better way than to visit Naggiar and pair one of them with the delectable offerings from our superb Chef Georgia. What better excuse to visit than to help us kick-off harvest with a little of the varietal that starts it all off?