|Domaine de Peyrat (France) Viognier 1999
If you are a frequent wine buyer you can't have escaped viognier (vee-ohn-yay) over the past year or so. Once confined to super-expensive wines of the northern Rhône, the grape is being planted all over the place and is one of the most fashionable white wine grapes around. I have always been a bit of a viognier sceptic, finding a tendency for the wines to be blowsy and overbearing. Somehow, the last few that I've tried have been really good, and none moreso than this example from the south of France. Light oak ageing has added a gorgeous, gentle sheen of vanilla and butterscotch on top of limpid pear and nectarine fruit. On the plate it is beautifully juicy with lively apple acidity keeping the ripe apricot and nectarine fruit in check, and lovely medium-bodied balance staying perfectly poised into a long, lightly spicy finish. Only 12.5% alcohol (some examples are over-alcoholic at 14.5%-plus), I would offer a money back guarantee if I was selling this stuff - sensationally good.
Thresher, Wine Rack, Bottoms Up £5.99.