Twenty years ago, John Alban started Hospice du Rhône as an event to promote viognier wines. Over the past two decades it has come to be a global Rhône gala. So, it seemed rather fitting, on this 20th anniversary of HdR, to take a look at just how this variety, almost universally proclaimed as not age worthy, changes over time.
Editors' note: To close 2011, Palate Press: The online wine magazine will be featuring some of our top stories from the past year. Our sixth piece comes from Lenn Thompson, giving us coverage of the Virginia wine industry's continued growth and the future challenges the state may face.
Although many people daydream about starting their own business, very few have the courage to do so. As anybody who has done it will tell you, it takes more than a great idea to become a success. In the case of Well Hung Vineyard, a boutique winery based outside Charlottesville, VA, it took three charismatic and interesting women, one vintner, and years of hard work to bring to life a unique concept they’d kicked around for some time—and mostly in jest.
Well-balanced, very aromatic and tropical on the nose but dry and refreshing as you gulp it down happily in the summer heat, it was also one of the closest things to Rhône Viognier I tried all weekend. Well-defined and quite pleasant, it goes well with charcuterie, smoked fish, and spicy Asian food. 20% of the wine is aged in oak—but I couldn’t have told you that without reading it. Recommended. RC
A modern wine industry that started with a handful of estates in the late 1970s has exploded to nearly 200 wineries covering every corner of the state, including six AVAs. According to the Virginia Wine Board, the state ranks fifth in the country in wine grape production, and produces more than 500,000 cases of wine per year. Clearly Virginia is already a player in the East Coast wine community, but can it go further?