{2015 Viognier - Estate}


A very small crop led to us to forgo new oak barrels to avoid placing too much oak signature on this wine.  We used this formula successfully in the similarly low yield years of 2008 and 2011.  Very pure aromatics in the nose include Meyer lemon, pear and honey, with forward white peach and brown sugar flavors in the mouth.  This wine has rich texture without feeling thick or heavy, plenty of complexity at this early stage of life, and refreshing crispness on the finish.  Organically farmed, bottled without filtration.  

Blend:  100% Viognier
Price:  $22
Cases Produced:  143

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Read about Previous Vintages:

We've learned so much since our inaugural vintage of Viognier, back in 2000.   We've improved vine training, started harvesting earlier, tweaked fermentation techniques and extended the length of time in barrel but with less new oak, all in order increase our Viognier's sense of place and its varietal character.   Aromas of orange peel and honey fill the nose; the flavors are forward with notes of Meyer lemon and brown sugar ahead of the long, silky finish.  As juicy and immediately enjoyable as any of our recent Viogniers, it's quite luscious.  Grapes farmed organically, and bottled without filtration. 

This is our 14th Viognier from this special block of vines. Our cooler north-facing vineyard site is a perfect fit for this varietal, with its mix of decomposing granite and sandy loam soil contributing the minerality that always seems present in our Viognier. The 2013 version is full of floral, white peach, and wet river stone aromas, with Meyer lemon and honey flavors and a delightfully long finish. Both ripe and complex.  Grapes farmed organically.  Bottled without filtration. 

In the lovely 2012 growing season, our Viognier grapes were physiologically ripe at lower sugar levels than in the past, and we’re happy with this development as it results in a little lower alcohol level. Aromas of pears, Meyer lemon and wet stones leap from the glass, and in the mouth it tastes a little like biting into a white peach, along with honey flavors and a crispness which keeps the wine lively. Delicious!

Blend:  100% Viognier

Made from our organically farmed, estate grown grapes, this Viognier has the flavor intensity of our warmer vintages, but with lower alcohol, a hint more crispness, and a delightful brightness that resulted from the cool 2011 vintage. Showing complexity, with limes and honey in the nose and a remarkably long finish full of Meyer lemon and graham flour flavors, the wine has lovely texture and seductive richness. Delicious!

Viognier always expresses the granitic character of our vineyard, and this year is no exception. In the cool 2010 growing season, we picked the Viognier nearly a month later than usual, so we decided to bottle it a little later than usual. We're pleased with the results. Aromas of honey, Meyer lemon, and brown sugar jump from the glass. Butterscotch, pears, richness, and balanced acidity add nuance to the complex flavors. This Viognier is made from our organically farmed grapes, and the minerality which is characteristic of our granitic soil comes shining through. Bottled without filtration. 


As our Viognier vines get older, we find the wines to be more consistent from vintage to vintage. They may vary a bit in ripeness and viscosity, but after a year in the bottle, they all have a similar aroma and flavor profile of honeysuckle, white peaches, pears and citrus, with balanced acidity and a definite minerality (a true signature of our vineyard site).  Since we handle our Viognier very gently at the winery and prevent it from contacting much air, the wines also age very well.  Our 2009 is classic Cedarville Viognier, with a bit more concentrated granitic character and lemon-lime aromatics than usual. 

Frosts in late April 2008 severely impacted vines throughout our vineyard, most especially the Viognier, which grows in the coldest corner of our property. We lost nearly half our crop to these frosts, and had to scramble for the rest of the growing season to make certain the surviving half ripened evenly. The extra attention paid off. On September 8, we harvested our perfectly ripened, albeit tiny, crop of Viognier. With so little wine, we decided to forgo using even a single new oak barrel for fear it might obscure the wine's pure character. The result, our 2008 Viognier, is a testament to focused grape growing and simple winemaking. The nose is full of Bartlett pear and honeysuckle aromas, and the mouth tastes of minerals (like water flowing over river stones), and finishes with amazing richness. It's lovely stuff, and a terrific example of a wine that could only come from right here. 

In early 2006, we decided to experiment with convertimg half of our Viognier vines from a bi-lateral cordon (the "T" shaped vines you often see in vineyards) to cane pruning (technically called head trained - cane pruned).  We did this in order to find out whether changing vine training would result in more uniform grape clusters and better vine growth habit. For our Viognier, it does! At harvest, the cane-pruned vines had more consistent cluster sizes (a big deal with Viognier for flavor), with better size and uniformity of vine shoots (which means a healthier vine and grapes next year).  We fermented the cane-pruned and cordon lots separately for evaluation, and then blended them together before bottling. In January 2007 we converted the rest of our vineyard block of Viognier to cane pruning.

Estate Vineyard Block: North facing Viognier block

Price: $20

Cases Produced: 185

Tasting Note: this wine exudes Meyer lemon, melon, and honey flavors with refreshing crispness and a long, dry, minerally finish. Robert Parker called our 2006 Viognier "tasty". We agree.

Our 2005 Viognier comes from very well-ripened grapes grown on a one acre north-facing slope on the southeast corner of our estate vineyard. Unfortunately, our crop in 2005 was very small, resulting in 1/3 less wine than in 2004 (sadly, we didn't even have enough Viognier to co-ferment with our 2005 Syrah).

The 2005 Viognier is our ripest to date, but like all the wines we make from our estate grown grapes, this wine maintains balanced acidity and plenty of complexity. This vintage is the most viscous and textured we'd made to date, and we're very fond of it.

Estate Vineyard Block: North facing Viognier block

14.4 % alcohol

Price: $20

Cases Produced: 147

Tasting Note: Honey, pear, white peach, and a hint of crushed stone; very viscous, nice minerality and good acidity. Rich, complex and delicious!

Is the secret out about Viognier here in El Dorado county? While this is our fifth vintage, many of our favorite local wineries are releasing their first wines made from viognier grown right here in Fair Play, and the wines taste terrific.
Our 2004 Viognier comes from uniformly well-ripened grapes grown on a one acre north-facing slope on the southeast corner of our estate vineyard. It's definitely ripe, but like all the wines we make from our estate grown grapes, this wine maintains balanced acidity and plenty of complexity. We think it's delicious!

Estate Vineyard Block: North facing Viognier block

14.3 % alcohol

Price: $20

Cases Produced: 207

Tasting Note: Honeysuckle and white peach characteristics, a hint of crushed stones, nice minerality and good acidity. Complex and delicious!

Viognier is such an exciting white wine, and it finds a wonderful expression here in our estate vineyard. It's always a challenge to decide when to pick Viognier, especially since we're looking for fully ripe flavors. It requires patience to let the grapes hang on the vine, turning from a greenish tinted color to a fully ripe, luscious, translucent yellow. That's the point at which the fruit expresses all the exotic character that makes Viognier unique. In 2003, we harvested our ripest Viognier to date.

Estate Vineyard Block: North facing Viognier block

14.1 % alcohol

Price: $20

Cases Produced: 147

Tasting Note: Honey, orange peel, pears, and apricots give a ripe impression to the aromas. The flavors follow suit, with subtle juiciness, smokiness and minerals, with a nice sense of richness and acidity that pulls all of the flavors together. It's definitely a complex white wine!

Our 2001 Viognier sold out very quickly. Fortunately, the 2002 vintage was a cooperative wine in the cellar and is ready for release. The feedback we often receive from fans of our Viognier is, "We love it, what makes it taste so unique?" We believe it's due to our high elevation site which retains the grape's natural acidity, our granitic soil which gives the wine a sense of minerality, and our refusal to clobber the wine with new oak. Essentially, we make a very traditional Viognier ­ whole cluster pressed, barrel fermented, and aged sur-lie in neutral French oak barrels.

Estate Vineyard Block: North facing Viognier block

14.5% alcohol

Price: $20

Cases Produced: 200

Tasting Note: We want the fruit and our special vineyard site to do the talking ­and does this wine talk! The nose is full of aromas of white peaches and limes, and the mouth has rich texture, a touch of minerality, and balanced acidity. It tastes delightful right now, but will continue to develop complexity with a little age.

Drum roll please, now presenting our only white wine, Viognier. It's pronounced Vee-O-Nee-Yay -- just practice saying it a few times, even us wine geeks needed to practice before feeling safe enough to pronounce it in public. Viognier is one of the great white wine grapes of the Northern Rhone Valley of France, where it grows on decomposed granite hillsides, just like here at Cedarville.

In 2001, we hand sorted the grapes (as we do with all our grapes), then placed them directly into our press as whole clusters, and moved the free run press juice to a tank to start fermentation with temperature control. Part way through fermentation, we transferred the wine/juice to older French oak barrels to complete fermentation. We kept the wine in the same barrels, stirring the lees regularly for 14 months before moving the wine to a stainless steel tank for bottling.

Estate Vineyard Block: North facing Viognier block

14.5% alcohol

Price: $20

Cases Produced: 120

Tasting Note: The 2001 Viognier has a wonderfully pure pear and honey character on the nose which continues in the mouth with a seductive richness, and a touch of crisp acidity ideal with matching with food.