White Hall Vineyards2006 Viognier
Anthony and Edie Champ wanted to plant a vineyard and make their own wine after Tony retired from business in New Jersey. They looked for suitable land in California and other areas, but were attracted to the challenges of the rolling foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains around Charlottesville.
Virginia’s young wine industry was starting to make waves in the early nineties, so in 1992 the Champs purchased land and planted six acres of Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc. In the years since they have added Pinot Gris, Gewurztraminer, Petit Verdot, Muscat di Frontignan, Touriga Nacional and Petit Manseng, expanding the vineyard to 39 acres, which supplies 85% of White Hall’s production.
White Hall’s pursuit of quality was recognized early on. Their first Cabernet, 1995, won the Virginia Governor’s Cup in 1997 and again in 1998, with numerous awards in national wine competitions.
Viognier has been one of White Hall’s most successful white varieties. The 2005 showed well in the Virginia Wine Experience in London in May 2007. The 2006 Viognier is another winner. Made from 84% Viognier and small amounts of Chardonnay, Petit Manseng and Gewurztraminer, it’s crisp with bright fruit and a big zing to it. Appealing aromas of lemon blossom and honeysuckle lead into flavors of tart citrus with hints of grapefruit and kiwi fruit. Dry and refreshing, it’s an excellent summer wine for mild fish, tarragon flavored chicken breast, and spicy sushi.
Reviewed July 25, 2007 by Barbara Ensrud.
Barbara Ensrud has been writing about and reviewing wines since 1979, with a nationally syndicated column for the New York Daily News and numerous other publications. Her “no numbers” approach to evaluating wine is simple: how does it taste – on its own, as well as with particular foods? Is it good value, whether $10 or $210? Does it measure up in terms of varietal character and regional identity? …"When I taste a good wine, I can't wait to share it with fellow wine lovers."