Wine Wednesday Pick from O’Briens: Freemark Abbey Napa Valley Viognier 2011
California is well known for its world class Cabernet Sauvignons and Chardonnays, but the Golden State has much more to offer: from rich and elegantly oaked Zinfandels to plump Merlots and even some graceful Pinot Noirs from its cooler areas, there is plenty to choose from.
Viognier is an Ace up the sleeve of California, and lovers of full bodied, aromatic whites will find it a winner. The variety, stellar in the Rhône Valley, benefits from Napa Valley’s warm weather, where it ripens beautifully, developing generous amounts of sugars.
Freemark Abbey Napa Valley Viognier 2011 is 100% Viognier from the Napa Valley. Clear and light gold, and with a voluptuous body (it couldn’t be any other way at 15% ABV), it offers a rich and perfumed exemplary taste of what the varietal can offer in the region.
The winery is a California pioneer, with a history that traces back to 1886, date in which Josephine Tychson open the original cellar, and became the first recorded female winemaker in Napa Valley.
Only 60% of the wine is fermented in barrels, and just 4% of it is new oak. After fermenting, the wine is matured in French oak barrels for 40 days. The result is a delicate spiciness that doesn’t overshadow the generous fruit character of the grape.
Aromas of orange blossom, acacia honey and ripe white peaches blend in together, with a fresh hint of lemongrass and a medium to long finish. On the palate, crispy green apples and a delicate minerality add to its character.
It feels fresh and balanced, with a moderate acidity.
Freemark Abbey Napa Valley Viognier 2011 is available at O’Briens Wines at €27.99.
Gabriela’s passion for writing is only matched by her love for food and wine. Journalist, confectioner and sommelier, she fell in love with Ireland years ago and moved from Venezuela to Dublin in 2014.
Since then, she has written about and worked in the local food scene, and she’s determined to discover and share the different traditions, flavours and places that have led Irish food and drink to fascinate her.