Viognier de Pennautier 2006

Viognier de Pennautier 2006

Wine:  Viognier de Pennautier 2006

Price: $13.00 (or so?)

Region: Carcassonne, France

Grape Variety: Viognier

Purchased: France 44, Edina, MN

We were invited to our normal monthly dinner with brother-in-law Jim (an excellent chef!), and our task was to bring the wine to match the menu.  He was serving pork chops stuffed with sun-dried tomatoes, spinach and goat cheese, with a side of Hasselbeck potatoes.  I searched through our little wine-cellar (which amounts to about four cases of various wines), and decided on the Marc Bredif Vouvray.  I realized that we’d already brought that to one of his dinners previously, and that’s when I spied the mystery bottle of Viognier in our stock.  I was sure we purchased it following a tasting at France44, but I couldn’t remember a thing about it.  I looked in my trusty copy of Karen MacNeil’s Wine Bible, and this was the description of Viognier I found:

“If a good German riesling is like an ice-skater (fast, racy, with a cutting edge), and chardonnay is like a middle-heavyweight boxer (punchy, solid, powerful), then viognier would have to be described as a female gymnast – beautiful and perfectly shaped, with muscle but superb agility and elegance.”


“Viognier’s appeal is its exotic, honeysuckle, musky fruit, its round body, and – most of all – its mesmerizingly lanolinish texture.”

With those descriptions, I knew this had to be the wine for the evening.  And for anyone who, like me, isn’t exactly sure what “lanolinish texture” means, the dictionary defines lanolin as follows:  “a fatty substance, extracted from wool, used in ointments, cosmetics, waterproof coatings, etc. ”  That’s one of the strangest descriptors I’ve ever seen for a mouthful of wine, but this wine was terrific nonetheless!

This wine really was a compromise in mouthfeel between a riesling and a chardonnay.  In fact, I’d be willing to say it was almost like a vouvray, only with a softer feel as we swirled and tasted it.  It seemed very bright, and lively, with a finish that seemed to hang on for a few moments.  The pairing with the stuffed pork chops was highly successful.  Neither flavor was overbearing, and they complemented each other well.  When the meal was finished we each lingered over our remaining wine, savoring the flavor and complimenting our chef on an excellent meal.

As a final note, this was an excellent example of a  wine we’d never have found if it weren’t for France44 and their free tastings.  I can’t honestly say I recall the day we tasted this wine, but we were able to pull it unexpectedly from our little collection and make a good contribution to a great meal.  I’m thankful that the good people of that wonderful store make these tastings available to us.  Without them, it’s likely we never would have had this terrific wine experience.


3 Responses to Viognier de Pennautier 2006

  1. sister2u says:

    I must say a combination of Riesling and Chardonnay has me raising my eyebrow. I guess that’s because I’m a fan of buttery Chards, so combining that with the sweetness of Riesling seems counter-active. But something to try…

    And I may have to contact Jim for that porkchop recipe. That sounds fabulous! Wish I were there to join the monthly dinners!

  2. Nate says:

    Hi Sis,

    Actually, I didn’t say a combination of the flavors. What I did say was that it was between the two in terms of the mouthfeel. It was definitely its own flavor and feel, I was trying to place it on a continuum between the two. Well worth a try!


  3. sister2u says:

    I stand corrected. Also, I’m very familiar with lanolin in hand creams (the more, the better) but am a little scared of that type of finish for a wine! heh heh.

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