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by Fred McMillin
The Hex on Grape X
The problems with grape X according to Master of Wine Clive Coates in his new Wines of France:
So why bother to grow it? Well, the wine from grape X...
The grape is the Rhone's Viognier (vee-oh-NYAY). It's origin? For the answer we turn to...
The Roman galley was making its way up the Rhone destined for Beaujolais when it was captured and looted by bandits...Viognier vines had landed on the Rhone.
Due to the above difficulties, it barely survived. As recently as 1968 there were but 35 acres in France, zero in California.
Just about that time I recall importer Julius Wile telling me to be sure not to miss Viognier's Condrieu as I was leaving for the Rhone. So, the word was leaking out. Two decades later French nurserymen were selling half a million cuttings a year.
California Here I Come
It was 1982 when the first of those cuttings reached California. By 1990 there still were only 19 acres. Then...
Notice those 19 acres in 1990. They produced our...
Wine of the Day
1998 McDowell Viognier, Mendocino County
Postscript—Been There, Done That
Clive Coates again: I first encountered these exceptional Viognier wines in the early 1960s. With the food at the restaurant La Pyramide in Vienne on the Rhone, critics pronounced them fabulous. No argument here; the photo is of my wife during our feast at the Pyramide in the 1960s. Some said it was the greatest restaurant in the world at the time. As for food with the McDowell 1998, pour it with rich fish dishes.
04/17/00—Well Done, Byron!
04/14/00—It's the Price, Stupid
04/13/00—The President's Pick
04/12/00—Tamas for the Boss
04/11/00—Clear Lake Takes the Cake
04/10/00—Out Damn Bubble
04/07/00—Sure Thing Sterling
04/06/00—Sing a Song of Syrah
04/03/00—Noah to Napa
This page created April 2000