2011 Viognier, Sonoma County
For winemakers, cool growing seasons are a blessing because they allow for longer hang-time and flavor development on the vine without the high sugars (and alcohols). Flavorful fruit with higher acidity and lower alcohol wines are all good things. Viognier was one of the few varietals greatly affected by the cool weather during bloom. The late spring rains and chilly weather affected the pollination period, which led to a significantly lower fruit set. Most vineyards saw 50% of a normal crop size in 2011. From the Hawley estate, we harvested only one ton per acre, compared to 3 tons in a “normal” year.
Our disappointments with the small crops were immediately put to rest upon tasting the grapes as they were crushed. From a quality standpoint, we could not ask for more. As the juice fermented in barrels, the winery cellar was filled with intense aromas of tropical fruit and citrus.
The 2011 Viognier is much more floral than in years past – think orange blossoms and tangerine on the nose with flavors of tangerine and peach pie on the palate. As usual, our barrel fermentation in neutral French oak adds body and richness to this light and floral wine. Enjoy this wine immediately, or within the next year while the fruit is fresh and the acidity bright.