Beaujolais producer to release Viognier
Beaujolais producer Xavier Benier is to release a Viognier from the region under a Vin de France label.
The 2015 vintage will mark the first release of the Viognier which is grown in a small vineyard in the Beaujolais Villages commune of Saint Julien (pictured) – where Benier is based.
Viognier is not allowed under Beaujolais AOC laws but Saint Julien also falls under the IGP Comtés Rhodaniens appellation which does allow the planting and bottling of Viognier.
Nonetheless, Benier told the drinks business at the recent ‘Bien Boire en Beaujolais’ tasting that he intends to bottle the wine under the Vin de France label instead as he wasn’t a great fan of the Comtés Rhodaniens name.
The vines are just three years old – 2015 was their first crop – and planted on clay-limestone soil. Just 600 bottles will be produced to begin with, at just under 11% abv an impressive achievement considering the warm weather the region enjoyed and occasionally endured last summer and Viognier’s reputation for being rather ‘blowsy’ and alcoholic at times.
Benier said the youth of the vines was behind this and added he was still working to understand the variety and how to work it.