Viognier doesn’t get enough love from the wine community. It’s often overlooked for other white wines. Well not today! I love Viognier. The aromas of Viognier trigger some of my favorite childhood memories. It’s a consistently good wine that can be found at many different price points. Also, Viognier goes with a lot of different foods much better than other white wines. So buckle up for the Viognier food pairing guide as I honor this pretty little grape.
Where is Viognier from?
Viognier originally comes from the wine commune of Condrieu in Rhone Valley, France. If you see the word Condrieu on a wine label, it must be made exclusively from Viognier grapes. Viognier was nearly extinct by the mid 20th century. Thankfully, it’s popularity made a comeback with the help of the grape being planted outside of France.
Viognier is planted in the Napa Valley, Sonoma Valley, and Paso Robles wine regions of California. It is also grows very well in Eden Valley, Australia. Always showing my bias, there’s actually some pretty great Viognier made in Greece as well.
What does Viognier Smell and Taste like?
Although a dry white wine, Viognier has subtle sweet notes that blend wonderfully with its distinctive aromas. When you smell it, you immediately get the aromas of tangerine, white flowers, but dominantly peach and apricot. And if Viognier is aged in oak barrels, the aromas are amplified. To me, oak aged Viognier smells like old-fashioned donuts, yum!!!
How do you pronounce Viognier?
Viognier is pronounce VEE-own-yay. Don’t worry if you don’t get it completely right the first time; there was a rumor that the world’s largest land owner of Viognier in Virginia, USA pronounced Viognier as VOG-ner.
Characteristics of Viognier to Consider when Pairing Food
Viognier is marked by its intense aromatics. Viognier usually has low to medium acidity, so it’s best to avoid anything too acidic, such as lemon or tomato sauce. On the other hand, it has a medium body that becomes quite full-bodied when aged in oak. Although a predominantly made in bone dry styles, you can also find Viognier in off-dry variations when there is a bit of residual sugar.
Viognier Food Pairing List
Seafood and Fish Dishes that Pair with Viognier
Viognier with shrimp
You can never go wrong with pairing shrimp and Viognier. This shellfish pairs great with Viognier, no matter the way of cooking. However, if you are serious about wine pairing, make sure to grill the shrimps and then add a spicy sauce. You will love this combo!
Viognier food pairing with salmon
Any grilled fatty fish makes an excellent candidate to pair with Viognier. Yet, salmon might be the best fit, especially if you consider how well its heavy elements match the oily texture of the wine. And the best news? Salmon is so easy to cook, so you never have an excuse to not make the most of your dinner. I’m a huge fan of Viognier and salmon sashimi.
Viognier with milkfish
If you are looking for something more unique, consider pairing Viognier with milkfish. What the #@$# is milkfish? Well you probably know it better as Filipino bangus. Alternatively, milkfish is great with a mild curry; Viognier always cries out for spicy elements.
Chicken and poultry dishes that pair with Viognier
Viognier food pairing with chicken
Although Viognier pairs excellent with all poultry dishes, some combinations stand out. One of them is Viognier with grilled chicken. You will especially love how well the wine’s fruity aromas and honey notes complement the tenderness of chicken meat. A personal favorite is Viognier with chicken pot pie; creamy sauces are particularly good with Viognier.
Viognier with Turkey
Another excellent candidate to pair with Viognier is turkey. Although similar to chicken, turkey has a distinctive taste that pairs beautifully with Viognier. And if you are after the perfect pairing, make sure to get the turkey skin nice and crispy. More wine pairings with turkey here.
Online Wine Tasting Course
Are you tired of wasting money on wine you don’t like? Want to learn what you like and don’t like about wine in the comfort of your own home and at your own pace? Then this is the online wine tasting course for you!
Discover the unique flavors and aromas of wine with the help of a Certified Sommelier with years of experience.
Learn More Here
Vegetarian Dishes that Pair with Viognier
Viognier with roasted vegetables
Select your favorite vegetables and put them in the oven. Add some olive oil and spices and let the magic unfold. The final result will surprise you with how well it pairs with Viognier. If you’re not sure what vegetables to select, I’d recommend starting with carrot, sweet potatoes, and onion. And then go wild!
Viognier with cheese and fruit plate
If you are looking for a wine to pair with an after-dinner snack, or a easy lunch, Viognier is a great match with a cheese and fruit plate. Not only is it an easy to make and satisfying to your taste buds, but it pairs beautifully with the fruity notes of Viognier. Since Viognier doesn’t have a huge amount of acidity, it won’t class with the fruit.
Meat Dishes that Pair with Viognier
Viognier food pairing with veal
Although not many whites can match the heaviness of red meats, Viognier can be an exception if aged in oak. Oak barrels give wine body and texture, as well as flavor. Oak aged Viognier will be in perfect balance with a light meat such as veal. (More veal wine pairings here.)
Viognier with pork
If you love pork, feel free to pair it with Viognier. Although these two complement each other fine, you may need an extra element to help lift and brighten the dish. For that reason, make sure to side pork with an apple sauce of other fruit chutney.
Spicy foods with Viognier
Viognier with Pad Thai
Spicy food is where Viognier really shines. And there is no better spicy candidate to pair Viognier than Pad Thai. You can find this Thai favorite dish with chicken, fish, or tofu. No matter the main ingredient, Paid Thai has a savory taste with sweet notes that perfectly match Viognier.
Viognier with Japanese noodles topped with Shichimi Togarashi
Shichimi Togarashi is a spicy Japanese blend that can turn even plain buttered noodles into a tasteful dish. This combination of peppers, sesame seeds, ginger, and seaweed makes a particularly spicy product that pairs excellently with Viognier.
Viognier with Duo jiao yu tou
I know what you are thinking. What language is that? Although you don’t need to pronounce it (at least I can’t), you only have to taste this Chinese specialty to see how good it pairs with Viognier. In short, it is about a steamed fish head with a heap of chili on it. For anyone that didn’t entirely fall for the description, note that there are whole fish versions as well. What a relief!
Viognier with Banh Mi
If you have been to the Vietnam or been lucky enough to live by a vibrant Vietnamese community, you are familiar with Banh Mi, an insanely good sandwich. My favorite is duck Bahn mi and it’s topped with pickled vegetables and a spicy ginger sauce with orange and sesame oil. Viognier is perfect with Bahn Mi.
Bonus Viognier Food Pairing Tips
Viognier is a dry white that pairs great with several snacks and appetizers. Try it with savory and soft cheeses such as aged Gouda or Gorgonzola. Nuts are also great fits, especially almonds and macadamias.
You can even side Viognier with white grapes or fruits like peach or mango. Vegetables also make great companions, particularly if you prepare a curry dip on the side. If that sounds too healthy, don’t forget to pick some crackers and chips to add some variety. Your palate will be thankful!
Serving and Storage Suggestions for Viognier
Serve Viognier with a nice chill, but not too cold because cold temperatures will stifle the aromas of Viognier. Viognier should be served in a universal white wine glass. Most Viognier is made to be consumed within 2-3 years of release though some oak-aged Viognier can be aged for 10 years if stored properly.
Is Viognier dry or sweet?
Viognier is a deceptively dry white wine. The aromas and flavors are very fruit-forward, dominated by peach. These aromas and flavors trick our brains into thinking the wine is sweet, when in fact, very few Viogniers have residual sugar. In other words, Viognier can be bone dry or sometimes off-dry.
What wine is Viognier like?
Riesling is a German white wine that resembles Viognier in many respects. They are both aromatic wines with peach, white flower, and stone fruit aromas and flavors. Also they are similar in body. Riesling is much higher in acid though.
Does Viognier go with lobster?
Yes, Viognier is a great pairing with lobster. The best way to think about it is that some Viognier is oak-aged and has been through a process called malolactic fermentation. This gives Viognier a buttery aroma and flavor. Well, what’s better than lobster with drawn butter? Lobster with drawn butter and Viognier!
Is Viognier a good wine?
Viognier is almost always produced in respectable styles. What do I mean by that? It’s not a particularly easy grape to grow, so those that do grow Viognier make a quality Viognier. Wines from Condrieu, where Viognier is from, are excellent and revered as some of the best white wines in the world.
I hope you enjoyed this Viognier food pairing guide. If you have any fun foods that also pair with Viognier, feel free to share them in the comments.