Recommended viogniers

Wednesday, March 31, 2010; E05

These are Dave McIntyre's favorite Virginia viogniers from the Tarara tasting as well as tastings at last month's Virginia Wine Expo in Richmond. Wines are available from the wineries and might have limited distribution in Virginia retail shops.

Michael Shaps Viognier, 2008
Monticello, Va., $32

Shaps manages to produce a viognier that combines crispness with fullness, capturing the grape's appealing floral and tropical character without losing focus.

Veritas Vineyard & Winery Viognier, 2009
Monticello, Va., $20
(Great Value)

From the first sniff to the final echo of this wine in the mouth, it is simply delicious.

Horton Vineyards Sparkling Viognier, NV
** 1/2
Orange County, Va., $25

The winery playfully calls this delightful sparkler "Dom Virginion." It might not fool fans of Dom Perignon, but it should not be missed. Horton's 2008 Viognier ($20, ** 1/2) is consistently one of the state's best and most widely available.

Barboursville Viognier Reserve, 2008
** 1/2
Virginia, $22

This wine tends not to stand out in a lineup; rather, it waits for you to notice it. And it rewards your attention. Long after the other wines have tired, this one is still going strong.

Pollak Vineyards Viognier, 2009
Monticello, Va., $18
(Great Value)

The three-year-old winery is quickly becoming a Virginia star. This, its latest viognier, to be released next month, is juicy and rich, yet nervy and energetic. Winemaker Jake Busching ferments it in stainless steel, using indigenous as well as cultured yeast.

Flying Fox Vineyard Viognier, 2008
Shenandoah Valley, Va., $17
(Great Value)

It's an impressive effort, quite focused and lively.


*** Exceptional ** Excellent * Very Good

Prices are approximate. Check Winesearcher.com to verify availability, or ask a favorite wine store to order through a distributor.

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